Women-led SMEs in south-east Turkey encouraged to apply for support
LONDON, 22-5-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — The Finance and Advice for Women in Business Programme, funded by the European Union (EU), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Republic of Turkey, was introduced to local women-led businesses in Gaziantep today.
The programme aims to strengthen the role of female entrepreneurs in the Turkish economy and help women-led businesses grow by providing them with a comprehensive package of financial and technical support.
Under this framework, the EBRD is providing up to €300 million in credit lines to banks in Turkey. The EU, the Turkish Ministry of Labour and Social Security and Turkish Employment Agency are supporting the programme with €38 million for credit enhancement, advice to small businesses, including mentoring, entrepreneurship trainings, and networking opportunities, as well as technical assistance for partner banks. So far, four Turkish banks have joined the programme and received financing from the EBRD: VakıfBank (US$ 30 million), Finansbank (€50 million), İşbank (US$ 55 million), and Türk Ekonomi Bankası (€50 million).
Guests of honour included Deputy Head of Section of the EU Delegation to Turkey, Andrea Vera, President of the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce, Eyüp Bartık, and Head of İşkur Gaziantep, Siraç Ekin, as well as representatives of Finansbank and TEB.
In his opening speech, Gökhan Karaçetin, Head of the EBRD Resident Office in Gaziantep, said: “We are glad to launch this programme in Gaziantep today. It will be instrumental in helping women-led companies in the region to grow, become more competitive and contribute to the local economy. Thanks to support of our donors, partner banks and local institutions such as the Gaziantep Municipality and the Chamber of Commerce, we believe that we will help many businesswomen in Gaziantep.”
Andrea Vera, Deputy Head of Section for Economic and Social Development at the EU Delegation to Turkey, commented: “Advancement of women’s rights and ensuring gender equality are fundamental principles and goals of the European Union. The EU Delegation appreciates the commitment of all our partners in Turkey to empowering women through the Finance and Advice for Women in Business Programme. I hope that the entrepreneurs and businesswomen of Gaziantep and the surrounding region will make the most of this Programme and that it will help them to prosper and create high-quality jobs.”
Home to 1.8 million people, Gaziantep, a dynamic business hub and gateway to south-eastern Turkey, is one of the focus regions for the EBRD’s programme. So far, 14 companies from Gaziantep and neighbouring cities have benefited from the Bank’s advisory services thanks to €87,000 support from donors. 13 businesswomen joined the first entrepreneurial skills development course. Following the programme’s launch in Gaziantep, the EBRD aims to reach out to more businesswomen and women-led enterprises in the region.
The EBRD opened an office in Gaziantep in September last year in response to the growing demand for its investments in south-east of Turkey. It also runs offices in Istanbul and Ankara.
The Bank started investing in Turkey in 2009. In just six years the Bank has invested over €5 billion in Turkey through more than 140 projects in infrastructure, energy, agribusiness, industry and finance. It has also mobilised over €12 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing.