Ecobank Kenya has launched a flagship program that is vital to the empowerment and support of women-led businesses dubbed Ellevate which is owned by women.
Ellevate program is designed for businesses owned by women, businesses managed by women, businesses with a high percentage of female board members or employees, and companies that manufacture products for women.
According to Ecobank Kenya Managing Director (MD) Cheikh Travaly, the program will address the various impediments women-focused businesses have faced including access to finance. The program was first launched by Ecobank Group in 2020 and has extended $208million (Sh25.13billion) in loans and has attracted $337.7million (Sh40.81billion) in deposits.
Through the program, there will be an offer of both financial and value-added solutions to the Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owned by women to help them achieve their full potential as women in Africa have faced the challenge of accessing high-quality financial services which hinders the growth of their businesses.
“We have specially designed Ellevate to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs through the provision of comprehensive, customized, and tailor-made solutions which include favorable lending rates, smart cash management enablement, and a suite of value-added services such as leadership training, mentoring, and networking opportunities,” said Travaly.
Ellevate has also won several awards such as Best New Product Launch of the Year 2021 (the Middle East & Africa Retail Banking Innovation Awards), Impact Award 2021 (Financial Alliance for Women), and Outstanding Crisis Finance Innovation Award 2021 (Global Finance Innovators Awards).
Mr. Travaly also stated that the women-led businesses, through the program, will become both scalable and sustainable as they are largely underserved.
The lender will also allocate a minimum of 10 percent of its loan portfolio to women’s businesses.
Furthermore, it has created an average of between 90,000 to 150,000 jobs across Africa in sectors such as education, agribusiness, hospitality, retail, and distributorship since its inception.