Ecobank Launches Women Empowerment Project

The programme christened ‘Elevate’ aims at providing financial and added value to women run businesses

Ecobank Cameroon, part of the leading pan-African Ecobank Group, officially launches its flagship Women’s Programme ‘Elevate’ to empower and support women-led and/or women-focused businesses with the financial and value-added solutions that will help their businesses reach their full potential and Ecobank Cameroon launches ‘Elevate’ programme to empower succeed.

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for about 90% of all businesses in Africa and women own about a third of all registered African SMEs. Indeed, one-in-four (25.9%) of adult women in Africa start or manage a business. However, women have not enjoyed equal access to high quality, demand driven financial services and it is estimated that women-owned SMEs face a US$42 billion financing gap, making lack of access to financing a common constraint to their business growth.

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Mrs. Gwendoline Abunaw, Managing Director of Ecobank Cameroon, said: “The growth of women-led and women-focused businesses have been long hampered by a range of impediments, including access to finance. We have especially designed Elevate to meet the needs of women entrepreneurs through the provision of comprehensive, customised and tailor made solutions which include favourable lending rates, smart cash management enablement and a suite of value-added services such as leadership training, mentoring and networking opportunities. Ecobank Commercial Banking is allocating a minimum of 10% of its loan portfolio to women’s businesses.

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“Women-led businesses are a largely underserved market and Ecobank Cameroon is determined to help them reach their potential, grasp business opportunities and become both scalable and sustainable. This will enable them to play a major role in Africa’s social and economic development, in addition to creating hundreds of thousands of jobs needed by this and future generations of Cameroonians.”

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The official launch of the ‘Elevate’ program by Ecobank Cameroon took place on March 30th, 2021 in Douala with the presence of administrative authorities and several women entrepreneurs and business owners from all sizes and various sectors (Oil & Gas, agriculture, distribution, photography, event planning, catering, education, communication, childcare, fashion, beauty & hair etc.) of the Cameroonian economy. It was also a moment of exchange with a panel discussion made up of inspiring women running successful businesses both nationally and internationally who shared their captivating and inspiring entrepreneurial journeys: Mrs. Reine Mbang Essobmadje  - CEO Evolving Consulting, vice-president of GICAM; Mrs. Jacqueline Dongmo - Group CEO of Gracedom Invest; Mrs. Jacky Dioh Eko - Founder of Dewey Internationally School of Applied Sciences; Mrs. Horore Bell Bebga, Founder of African women in tech start-ups and the Guest of Honor: Mrs. Kate Fotso - CEO of Telcar Cocoa LTD.

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Ecobank Cameroon is an affiliate of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the pan-African financial conglomerate headquartered in Lomé, Togo, which operates in 33 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Ecobank Group also has a banking license in France and representative offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, China; London, the UK and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The Group offers a full suite of banking products, services and solutions including bank and deposit accounts, loans, cash management, advisory, trade, securities, wealth and asset management. ETI is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchanges in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan.

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