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IFC, Business Partners and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Partner to Support Women-Owned Businesses in South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa, December 17, 2019 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a R600 million ($41 million) investment in Business Partners Ltd. (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) to strengthen women-owned businesses in South Africa and help create tens of thousands of jobs.
The senior long-term loan is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF). WEOF is a first-of-its-kind global finance facility dedicated to expanding access to capital for women entrepreneurs. It was launched in 2014 by IFC, through its Banking on Women program, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women .
The loan to BUSINESS/PARTNERS—a South African financial institution that supports small enterprises—will enable more women entrepreneurs in South Africa to access capital.
BUSINESS/PARTNERS estimate its on-lending to smaller businesses will help create 55,000 jobs by the end of 2023.
Ben Bierman, Managing Director of BUSINESS/PARTNERS, said, “We are excited about this partnership with IFC and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women because it draws on their global expertise in supporting women in business, and leverages BUSINESS/PARTNERS’ strengths in the South African market.”
Adamou Labara, IFC Country Manager for South Africa, said, “Women entrepreneurs are changing the landscape of the global economy, creating sustainable jobs and economic growth. When we help unlock financing for women-owned businesses, we support an important engine of job creation in South Africa.”
Charlotte Keenan, Global Head of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women , said, “We are committed to expanding access to finance and business education for women owned businesses. Our partnership in South Africa allows us to work with an experienced local institution, and to accelerate its ability to help more women owned enterprises in this important market to grow.”
To date, WEOF has supported 55 financial intermediaries in 35 countries. The cumulative investment amount stand at $1.76 billion. The facility has already reached 53,000 women entrepreneurs through its investments and is on track to reach 100,000 women globally.
While financial inclusion in South Africa has reached 69 percent, according to the latest World Bank Findex survey, 42 percent of formal micro, small and medium enterprises are still excluded from accessing the finance they need to grow and create jobs. IFC estimates the total formal sector MSME finance gap in South Africa is R426 billion ($29 billion), with demand from women-owned enterprises accounting for 17 percent of the gap.
The BUSINESS/PARTNERS loan is the fourth investment under IFC’s SME Push Program for South Africa. The SME Push Program partners with key stakeholders, including government agencies and financial institutions, to significantly increase funding for underserved segments of the SME market, which is the largest source of employment in the country.
About IFC
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit
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About Business Partners Ltd.
Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) is a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium owner-managed businesses in South Africa, and selected African countries. The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing from R500, 000 to R50 million, specialist sectoral knowledge, business premises and added-value services for viable small and medium businesses. Since establishment in 1981, BUSINESS/PARTNERS has provided business finance worth over R19.5 billion in over 71 600 transactions facilitating over 651 000 jobs. BUSINESS/PARTNERS was named the 2019 Gold winner in the SME Bank of the Year – Africa category at the recent Global SME Finance Forum Awards. Visit for more information.
SMEs wishing to engage with BUSINESS/PARTNERS should contact the team at 0861 763 346 or visit .
About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is an initiative to foster economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education and access to capital. The initiative has reached women from 56 countries through a network of 100 academic, nonprofit, and bank partners. In partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women launched the first of its kind global finance facility in 2014 to enable access to capital to more women entrepreneurs. And now, by leveraging technology the 10,000 Women curriculum is available online through Coursera, creating access to a business education in more corners of the world. For more information on Goldman Sachs’ investment in female entrepreneurs, visit