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Women better than men in business: IFC study

KATHMANDU, DEC 20 -

Though businesses in Nepal are predominantly male-dominated, an International Finance Corporation (IFC) report has shown that women are more entrepreneurial than men, and they generate 6 percent higher profits on annual sales even though they operate smaller businesses.

The report entitled “Small and Medium Enterprise gender baseline estimation for IFC’s financial market portfolio in Nepal” states that women entrepreneurs can play a more significant role in Nepal’s economic growth if financial institutions address their financing needs with suitable offerings.

Access to financing remains their biggest hindrance because banks prefer fixed assets as collateral that few women entrepreneurs possess. Other operational needs include improved access to markets and training for skill development.

Currently, women own about 14,300 small and medium enterprises in Nepal, accounting for 2 percent of GDP and employing over 200,000 workers. The study suggests that meeting their current credit requirements of US$ 106 million can increase their contribution to the economy.

The study suggests credit rating and collateral registry should guide financial institutions, helping them tap into the US$ 2.5 billion lending opportunity for small businesses. The SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility, managed by IFC, in partnership with the UK government and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, carried out the study.

“The study is a much-needed initiative that provides banks and financial institutions with valid data to help design banking products and services, easing access to finance for women entrepreneurs,” said Barsha Shrestha, general manager of Clean Energy Development Bank.

“It is important that banks consider the requirements of women entrepreneurs an intrinsic part of their small and medium enterprise strategy,” said Thelma Tajirian, IFC programme manager for Access to Finance.

Posted on: 2012-12-20 08:52