Loan applications worth $5.3 million received from women entrepreneurs
In an effort to build its capacity to promote gender and diversity, the Development Bank of Fiji launched its Women Entrepreneurs Loan this year.
Since the launch of this facility a month ago, the FDB has received more than 1,470 applications.
FDB Director General Saud Minam said the facility reaffirms FDB’s commitment to women’s economic empowerment, inclusiveness and support for MSMEs.
He said the total value of FDB loan applications for women entrepreneurs was around $5.3 million.
Responding to questions on financial access to women-led businesses, Mr. Minam said the facility has been well received by women entrepreneurs in the West and North Divisions, adding that 50% of the total inquiries came from these divisions and this number indicated the popularity of this particular facility across Fiji.
Applications were received from entrepreneurs of the following types of businesses: – Beauty salons – Food retail outlets – Horticulture – Market vendors and handicrafts – Consulting business – Online businesses (selling clothes, etc.) .) – Jewelry making.
Mr. Minam said that the applications received from the various types of businesses mentioned above also show the vitality of this targeted facility.
“Before the launch of this facility, FDB had 11% female clients. Over the years, the bank has had many successful female clients running their own businesses,” Mr. Minam said.
“With this new targeted facility, we seek to provide a more favorable and competitive business environment for women-led businesses and we also aim to increase the value of female loan applicants within FDB by 11% to 25% over the course of of the next three years. years,” he said.
Sharing his advice to women who were still hesitant to seek help from the bank to access the facility, Mr Minam said.
“To women entrepreneurs, you are the target audience for this facility and we want to reach as many businesses as possible.
“The bank has specially designed this facility for you given the difficulties you face in accessing finance; therefore, I strongly encourage you to visit our website if you need further clarification or simply give us a call. The application process has been simplified and applications can be submitted via the website www.fdb.com.fj.
“The bank has also organized roadshows in different cities to facilitate applications – bring the relevant documents and we will help you apply online. Further information on location, time etc. can be found on the pages from FDB’s social media.
Female MSME entrepreneurs operating as registered sole proprietorships, joint ventures and partnership enterprises for more than six months can apply for the facility.
According to Minam, the loan granted under this facility can be used for working capital needs or for business expansion.
“There are no capital and security contribution requirements for this facility. Removing these requirements has made it easier for women-owned businesses to obtain financing, as we often come across situations where women do not have the security or even the equity to grow their businesses.
“At FDB, we want to simplify things.
“FDB will continue to strive to create a more conducive and gender-sensitive business environment through such targeted initiatives.”
A small entrepreneur, Sera Vakalagilagia, founder and owner of Blush Boutique Fiji, is a beneficiary of this loan and she described it as a great and timely initiative to help women-led businesses.
“I would describe the product as a capsule that would give women entrepreneurs a much-needed boost to grow and scale their top-notch businesses.
“The loan under this facility will help me buy more stock and also cover shipping costs.
“Thanks to FDB, I am able to offer my customers more options at very little cost. The loan facility’s flexible requirements make it easier for women to apply,” she said.