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US$15M Fund launched by WomenWork and MasterCard Foundation to offer credit to Kenyan women-owned ventures


WomenWork partners with the Mastercard Foundation to begin a Rebuild program that offers business expertise and emergency loans to Kenyan entrepreneurs.

Rebuild Program covers emergency interest-free and offers short-term working capital loans to businesses offering support and training for engaged peer communities targeting women entrepreneurs online.

This is the first partnership between WomenWork and the Mastercard Foundation. The emergency loan facility on offer provides a soft landing to those SMEs affected by COVID-19 disproportionately affecting women-owned businesses.

The programme is part of MasterCard Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program – additional support from 4G Capital and the Grassroots Business Fund. An initial commitment of US$15 million will originate from the MasterCard Foundation and will find its way to four partner organizations that target 25,000 Micro, Small, and Medium enterprise organizations with less than 10 employees and a turnover of less than $5000.

Short-term emergency loans target job protection and payable with working capital within 2 months of no interest, fees, or collateral. To be eligible for the funds one must present an outline for the use of funds and the ability to repay them.

 Asha Mweru, the Co-founder WomenWork Network, reveals that the Rebuild program will offer insightful milestones while providing an opportunity to support women entrepreneurs in the community who are hard-hit from the effects of Covid-19.

Daniel Hailu, the Regional Head Eastern, and Southern Africa at the MasterCard foundation pointed out the risk exposure for women-owned businesses during normal times, a situation that could only have exacerbated with the pandemic. “We all need to take extraordinary measures in response, becoming even more intentional about supporting women-led enterprises and safeguarding the jobs they create.”

The loan program is open for businesses stretching across all key sectors provided they can prove operations for over 6 months, over 51% female shareholding, less than 50 employees, and makeover 5 million in revenues annually. Successful applicants in the Rebuild Program will get the payments made directly to their mobile money accounts.


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