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Union Bank, Leading Ladies Africa Train Female Entrepreneurs.

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Union Bank, Leading Ladies Africa Train Female Entrepreneurs.

Union Bank said it will offer discounted interest rate to women entrepreneurs who take part in the entrepreneurial training programme organised by the bank and Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit organisation which aims at providing skills to African women necessary for their success.

Lola Cardoso, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Union Bank, said this at a media briefing held to unveil the training programme by the bank and Leading Ladies Africa.

He said the bank has it as one of the propositions “in our offer to give discounted interest rate for women. So, some of the women are already our customers and some of them will be by the end of the programme because we made a presentation to them and they were quite happy about the offer”,

She added that if they go through the capacity training, some of them may not need more money to expand their business because what the training is all about is to ensure that they have the skills to run successful businesses.

“Sometimes, it is not about giving finances to a business, you need to take that business through certain trainings so that when you give them the finance the better they are going to use it and profit their business. After this training, one of the things we are going to do with the women is to place them in a situation to run their businesses well.

“ The programme is not a prerequisite to access finance, it is an additional; you can get funding and decide that you want some of your employees to attend the programme,” Cardoso said..

She added that the category included in the programme is women that have an industry that makes products solely for women and also support those industries owned by women.

Founder, Leading Ladies Africa, Francesca Uriri, said they received 2000 entries and after several processes, 40 finalists were selected to go through series of trainings and that the training have been fully sponsored by Union Bank.

Her words: “We opened entries up and we received nearly 2000 entries from women and that is a pointer to the fact that female entrepreneurs do need some capacity building, in all, the conversations are focused on funding. While funding is important, but if you don’t have businesses that have structure or businesses that can scale, then if you attract funding, it is just going to be a failed project.

“We opened up for entries but we are also very specific in terms of asking specific question, for example in the registration form there were what challenges does your business face?, how long have you been in business?, is your business registered?, what will you define as success?, what does your business represent? All of those questions for us were a way of targeting who we wanted to impact.

“Another criteria that we used was the businesses that we chose who were between two to four years old because we found out that at that point it is actually the point that businesses take off from the field completely and for us it was critical to get those in that stage.

“For us, the idea behind the enterprise and leadership program was to provide that structure to female-led businesses and there was no doubt about who could support that vision but Union Bank”

On the choice of Uinion Bank as partner for the capacity training, Uriri said it was important to partner with an institution that has the history of not just supporting women businesses but supporting enterprise.

“We know that Union Bank is old and not just that, we have seen its tenacity and how they support businesses across board and so for the enterprise and leadership programme, Union Bank was a good choice”, Uriri added.

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