The Turkish Businesswomen Association [TIKAD], which is working to increase the number of high heels in the business world, is asking public and private banks to set up a “Women’s Fund” that will exclusively serve businesswomen.
Turkish women constitute 24% of Turkish work force. The OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] average is 62%. It is not difficult to understand that this an outcome of the disadvantages women have in our education system.
TIKAD, long aware that entrepreneurship requires access to financial resources, has come out with a radical proposal for women’s banking. TIKAD President Nilufer Bulut wants public and private banks to offer female banking by creating a “Women’s Fund.” They have already started negotiations with the banks.
Bulut says the fund could provide credit with low interest rates and easier terms. “We are talking with banks. They see the global trends. They are aware that women entrepreneurship is the key to economic growth. Actually, they have been more receptive than we expected,” Bulut says.
Bulut says they will submit their project to the government according to the outcome of contacts with the banks.
“Special support and services for businesswomen have been available for a long time in many countries. ... In the USA there are more than 200 organizations supporting women entrepreneurships and 98 Women Business Centers. We want to strengthen our businesswomen with medium and large-scale credit and assist them in getting their companies listed in the top 500 [businesses worldwide],” Bulut says.
Jewelry can be collateral
Bulut says when women want to set up business or obtain credit from banks they are confronted with stringent collateral demands.
“We are studying how to create collateral systems. When applying for credit we want the jewelry at home to be accepted as collateral,” she says. She believes female employment in male-dominated sectors can easily rise to 30% of the workforce with the help of women’s banking.
Proposed credit packages
According to Bulut, the following credit arrangements can be made available to increase the number of female entrepreneurs:
— Long-term and low-interest needs and investment credit package (Three different packages for macro, medium and micro enterprises).
— Project support credit (For macro, middle and small enterprises with 7-10 year terms).
— Strategic sector credit (Easier credit for women entrepreneurs investing in strategic sectors).
— Small and medium enterprises synergy credit (To enable women-led small and medium enterprises earning less than one million Turkish liras and employing less than 50 workers to merge, buy or takeover other operations).
Women entrepreneurs are in last place in OECD standings
Bulut summarizes the benefits of removing the barriers women face when getting bank credits as:
— Sustainable wealth and profitability in women-owned companies.
— Increasing the number of businesswomen in top 500 companies.
— Increasing female employment. Poverty will be reduced and sustainable growth will be achieved.
— The percentage of female entrepreneurs in Turkey is 9%. This is far below OECD average of 25%.
— Increasing female employment will decrease poverty by 10% and this will contribute to overall growth.
— Increasing women entrepreneurship and women employment will lead to larger savings in the country because it is the women who save.
— 70% of men and only 22% of women with elementary school education are in the workforce. This figure dramatically rises to 71% among university educated women. However, this figure eventually drops down when some women leave the workforce after getting married and having children.
— To encourage increasing women investments in sectors with strategic importance for the country.