HSBC announced that it launched a Female Entrepreneur Fund on Tuesday that will provide $1bn in lending to female-owned businesses over the next 12 months in 11 markets, including Egypt.
This comes alongside the introduction of the ‘HSBC Roar Initiative’, which enables female entrepreneurs to access a series of masterclasses hosted by experienced business leaders as well as a tailored networking sessions with major companies in markets where the fund operates.
It also provides insights from the investor community and the opportunity to pitch to angel investors along with bespoke advisory for female entrepreneurs from experienced HSBC bankers.
These initiatives aim to break down the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and provide the infrastructure and support to help them scale and grow their businesses.
Access to funding remains one of the biggest hurdles for female business leaders worldwide. Female-owned businesses received just 3% of start-up funding in 2019, while only 2% of venture capital deployed globally went to female-led enterprises. Boston Consulting Group estimates closing the gender gap for women-led businesses could boost global GDP by $5 trillion.
Sam Cooper-Gray — Global Head of Market Strategy at HSBC Business Banking — said: “We are delighted to launch the Female Entrepreneur Fund and the HSBC Roar Programme today to help address the challenges and bias that female leaders face.”
“The level of funding received over time by female-led businesses is significantly lower than male counterparts, while the recent impacts of the pandemic have seen these same businesses disproportionately affected. Female-owned businesses are also less likely to have global networks, meaning international expansion can prove particularly challenging.”
“As the global economy continues to rebuild from the impact of the pandemic, small- and medium-sized businesses will continue to be the bedrock on which our economies and local communities are built, meaning we need to ensure that those led by women are given the support to fulfil their full potential,” Gray added.
Commenting on the launch, Yasmin Farid — Head of SMEs and Business Banking and Commercial Banking at HSBC Egypt — said: “Today’s launch demonstrates our support to Egypt’s 2030 Vision, clearly placing women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the forefront of the reform agenda.”
“Extending this initiative to Egypt — the first country in the Middle East to see the fund launched — reflects our commitment to provide female entrepreneurs with the opportunity to grow as part of our support to the SME sector in the country.”