Overcome risk aversion for seeking financing from financial market – Second Deputy Governor

Women entrepreneurs and business leaders must overcome their risk aversion for seeking financing from the financial market, Second Deputy Governor, Mrs Elsie AddoAwadzi, has said.

According to her, women entrepreneurs were afraid to borrow to expand their businesses, yet they were more prudent and responsible borrowers and tend to pay back their loans on time.

Mrs Awadzi said this at the second-anniversary celebration of the Association of Ghana Industries’ Women in Business Initiative under the theme, “Women-Led Businesses: Exploring Finance Channels and Market Access for Growth.”

“When women do not ask enough for financial support, they do not receive what their businesses need, and this hampers the growth and survival of their businesses,” she said.

She observed that finding and accessing the right financing at the right time was critical for business survival and growth, and women-owned entrepreneurs must fully understand all options available to them and the requirements for accessibility, including good governance, good financial management, and compliance with regulatory and technical standards.

The Second Deputy Governor indicated that given the critical role of women-owned and women-led businesses in our socio-economic development, the entire nation stood to gain significantly by equipping women businesses to scale up with good business practices, technology and technical support, and access to finance.

“By supporting women-owned and women-led businesses, we would be positioning our economy to grow on a sustainable basis,” she said.

The Second Deputy Governor entreated banks, Specialised Deposit Institutions, other financial services providers to understand women entrepreneurs and specifically tailor products that work for them, stressing that “Women entrepreneurs form a significant and viable unique market that needs to be understood and serviced to the benefit of all.”

She said lack of access to funding for women entrepreneurs required  broad stakeholder cooperation to develop interventions that support  women-owned and women-led businesses, stressing that“Empowering women should not be a charitable cause that one occasionally looks at to do some good but should be at the heart of corporate strategies and macroeconomic policy.”

Quoting from the World Bank, Mrs Awadzi said 44 percent of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana were female-owned, and that sector accounted for about 92 percent of all businesses and contributes about 70 percent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.

Yet, she said, women businesses faced a lot of challenges including lack of access to capital and technology to thrive.

Mrs Awadzi encouraged women entrepreneurs to venture into technology-related businesses to take advantage of the vast business opportunities the sector presented.

“Women-owned and women-led businesses must also embrace digital financial services provided by banks to help formalise payments for their goods and services so as to help them build the relevant banking history needed to access critical financing for their businesses,” she stated.

Mrs Awadzi paid glowing tribute to women entrepreneurs particularly the late DrEsther Ocloo of Nkulenu fame whose work to establish the AGI several decades ago continued to bear great fruit for our nation.

“Indeed, women are often the unsung heroes in our national discourse. Our great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and many of us have been entrepreneurs at one time or the other producing critical goods and services for our people,” she stressed.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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