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BLC - IFC: Gender Smart Business Solutions

Case Study: Banking on Women Entrepreneurs

The small-and medium-enterprise (SME) sector in Lebanon is a powerful economic force, accounting for 97 percent of all enterprises and employing more than half of the nation’s workforce. Despite this, women entrepreneurs often face barriers—ranging from restrictive legislation to lack of collateral—that reduce their access to finance. In response to these challenges, BLC Bank partnered with IFC to launch the Women Empowerment (WE) Initiative. 

Under the WE Initiative, BLC Bank and IFC’s Banking on Women (BOW) program researched gaps in women’s access to finance and designed a new customer value proposition (CVP)—a set of products and services targeted toward women.

BLC Bank and BOW also improved BLC Bank’s ability to promote equality between women and men. The results confirmed that women entrepreneurs are good customers. Loans that BLC Bank made to women resulted in lower risk rates and higher returns and growth rates than those made to men.

The groundbreaking offering for women entrepreneurs was complemented by investments in closing gaps between men and women working at BLC Bank. Ultimately, the bank benefited not just from improved profit¬ability, but also from a diverse labor pool, improved product and service innovation, and greater market growth… more


 
 
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