Istanbul, Turkey, March 24, 2014
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has hosted a conference during which more than 100 participants called for a stronger private sector role in generating opportunities for women, and increasing market collaboration between male and female entrepreneurs.
The conference, Investing in Turkey’s Women Entrepreneurs, included executives from leading firms, such as Vodafone Turkey and Sekerbank, and is part of IFC’s broader effort to help remove barriers to women entrepreneurship in Turkey.
While women-owned businesses represent 40 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey, only 15 percent have access to finance, representing a credit gap of $4 billion. They also have 23 percent less access to technology than firms owned by men. All this limits women’s potential for entrepreneurial potential and prospects for contributing to economic growth.
“Empowering more women entrepreneurs to participate in business will unleash significant potential to further develop the Turkish private sector,” said Ed Strawderman, IFC Associate Director for Financial Markets in Europe and Central Asia.
From a business perspective, women entrepreneurs represent sizeable markets and an underserved segment. Targeting this segment would help increase women entrepreneurs’ access to resources and unleash their economic potential.
“Investing in women entrepreneurs and markets is not only essential for economic growth, but also good for business,” said Henriette Kolb, Global Head of the IFC Gender Secretariat. “This is a strategic priority for IFC and could be a powerful driver of smarter business for our clients and better impact for IFC.”
IFC launched its Banking on Women program in Europe and Central Asia in 2011 to support lending to women through financial intermediaries. To date, IFC has investments in Romania, Turkey and the Russian Federation. In Turkey, IFC completed three loans – to Abank, Fibabank, and Sekerbank – totaling $60 million and reaching hundreds of women-owned SMEs.
Globally, IFC supports the participation of women in business as an important part of its mission to foster sustainable private sector growth in developing countries. IFC works with financial institutions to expand financial services to women entrepreneurs through targeted credit lines, market analyses, and capacity building.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit