Central Asia Women in Business Programme
The Women in Business (WiB) Programme in Central Asia aims to promote and support women’s entrepreneurship in Central Asia by assisting women-led MSMEs across the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to access finance, know-how and advice. The EBRD intends to provide more than USD 110 million in investment funds through this long-term programme, reaching out through its partner financial institutions (PFIs) to at least 7,000 women-led MSMEs who face significant gender-related barriers to accessing finance and expertise.
The Programme takes a holistic approach to address the demand and supply side and enabling environment constraints. IPC, together with its partner Sparkassenstiftung (Lead), was contracted to support PFIs in developing necessary skills and building specialised credit capacities and to support women entrepreneurs in accessing the funds and know-how they need to further develop their businesses.
At the beginning of the co-operation with PFIs, our experts conduct baseline assessments of each institution, their markets and business potential related to women-led MSME lending, which helps to assess each PFI’s ability and potential to provide specific support to this target group. Based on this, we develop technical support packages tailored to the needs of each PFI, including individual IT/MIS improvement plans, and plans for the introduction of standardised tools and methodologies, as well as for the development of specific product lines and sales strategies. In a third phase, our experts provide support to PFIs as per each individually designed TA package and agreed-upon work plan, always including the training of PFI staff through seminars/ webinars, workshops and on-the-job coaching.
Other tasks include:
- designing and co-ordinating demand side-oriented business development services (BDS) involving PFIs and local stakeholders
- jointly organising WiB seminar series with PFIs and the EBRD in each country
- organising high-profile thematic conferences for Programme stakeholders and broader audiences
- organising and delivering centralised technical workshops, training seminars and thematic roundtables related to BDS including the certification of local trainers
- assisting PFIs and the EBRD with the administration of claims related to a first-loss risk-cover of the WiB loan portfolios
During the first year of the Programme our focus has been on the successful implementation of capacity building activities at the first PFIs that joined the Programme in each project country, to enable them to become role models and market makers.