The SheTrades initiative launched by Barclays Bank of Kenya and the International Trade Centre (ITC) is expected to benefit some 10,000 local women entrepreneurs.
The women entrepreneurs will learn new skills and be connected to international trade opportunities. ITC aims to connect one million entrepreneurs from around the world to global markets in the next five years.
In Kenya, the initiative will be known as SheTradesKE and will involve various partners with the Barclays Bank as the financial partner while ITC will offer business development and financial management support to the women entrepreneurs.
“A third of all small and medium enterprises in developing countries are led by women, yet these firms continue to face significant challenges in accessing global market opportunities,” said Jeremy Awori, Managing Director, Barclays Bank of Kenya.
Mr Awori said that the Barclays will invest over Kshs. 70 million into the programme in the next 5 years.
Ms Arancha González, Executive Director of ITC said access to credit was a key constraint for women in business. “Lack of credit limits the ability of women owned businesses to grow and generate jobs,” he said adding that women were often confined to the informal sector.
In Kenya, women-owned businesses account for over 48% of all SMEs, contributing about 20% of the Kenyan gross domestic product (GDP).
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. It assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development.