By Tuba Sahin
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced Friday that it issued a five-year loan of $55 million to QNB Finansbank to expand its banking services to female entrepreneurs in Turkey.
The EBRD said in a statement that the Turkish lender would on-lend the funds to businesses either owned or run by women.
Turkish government and the EU will also provide first-loss risk cover, a feature designed to make loans less risky and more affordable, worth up to €4.4 million, the EBRD said.
"Women-led firms can also receive business advice from local and international experts under the programme, as well as access to training, mentoring, networking and other services to help them develop and improve their competitiveness," read the statement.
The bank said that the new loan brought the total EBRD financing for the Women in Business program in Turkey to €300 million.
"As we see continuous demand for financing and advisory services from women-led businesses, we will spare no effort to ensure that the programme continues," Jean-Patrick Marquet, EBRD managing director for Turkey, said in the statement.
Temel Guzeloglu, CEO of QNB Finansbank, said that the lender had supported 6,170 women entrepreneurs with loans worth of 246 million liras (some $70 million) since 2015 under the program.
"We will continue to support them with a wide array of solutions that best suit their needs for finance, consultancy and cash management. This new facility from the EBRD will further enhance our abilities in this regard," he added.
The Women in Business program aims to equalize success chance of female entrepreneurs, according to the EBRD.
"It combines credit lines to local financial institutions, to stimulate lending to firms, with business advice for the companies themselves. It also provides training for the financial sector, helping to introduce new practices that best serve a modern, inclusive society," the bank said.
The EBRD added that under this program, nearly 14,000 women-led businesses in the country had received loans worth of 650 million Turkish liras (some $184 million) through lenders since 2014.
Almost 4,000 female entrepreneurs and managers have benefited from non-financial services to develop their businesses, including advisory support from qualified local consultants and international experts, the bank said.
The EBRD has invested close to €9.5 billion in various sectors in Turkish economy, with 97 percent of investments supporting the development of private enterprise, it added.