Expert proffers strategies to unlock opportunities for women-led enterprises


By Christabel DANSO ABEAM

The Divisional Director of Retail and Business Banking at Fidelity Bank, Nana Esi Idun-Artkhurst, has outlined essential strategies to prepare women-owned businesses for investment.

She stated that a crucial factor determining a business’ creditworthiness is the owner’s discipline and commitment to maintaining accurate bookkeeping records.

Expanding further, Ms. Idun-Artkhurst noted that many women-owned businesses operate informally, resulting in a lack of emphasis on bookkeeping. However, she emphasised its significance, especially when seeking investment opportunities.

“It may not pose much of a problem for a businessowner to skip bookkeeping when there is no investor involved, but it becomes essential when seeking investment,” she said, adding that investors typically assess the eligibility of a business for a loan or grant by examining all documentation, including the business’ prospects and profit margins, which can only be established through proper bookkeeping.

Equally important, the Divisional Director noted the necessity for a businessowner to stay updated with accurate information about the requirements essential for potential investors.

For instance, she mentioned that certain requirements, including the duration a company has been operational and its profit margin, can limit access to financial assistance, as they indicate to investors the business’ potential for long-term sustainability.

“Sometimes during our assessments, we find that we have funds available for investment. However, the concern arises: What if we expand capacity and there isn’t a well-established business to invest in?”

She also encouraged women businessowners to prioritise educating themselves about technology, its use, particularly its benefits in improving both their businesses and their ability to succeed.

These measures, if implemented by businesses owned by women, particularly small medium enterprises (SMEs), will facilitate easier access to financial support from banks, she concluded.

The Fidelity way

Citing the unique solutions offered by Fidelity Bank, she highlighted the indigenous lender’s Bank Youth Entrepreneur programme, aimed at providing loans at concessionary interest rates and capacity-building for youth-led businesses. Additionally, she mentioned the Orange Corners Innovation Fund which provides affordable credit for young entrepreneurs as well as initiatives such as the Fidelity Bank Sustainability Summit and the Fidelity Bank and Mastercard ‘Bridge in Agriculture’.

These interventions are integral to the bank’s response to diverse needs across its businesses, with a particular focus on those in the informal sector, she said.

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