Prof. Ngumi Roots for Financial Inclusion as KCB Unveils FLME

Prof. Ngumi makes her keynote speech at the unveiling of the KCB Women Proposition

An estimated 40% of SMEs in Kenya are women-owned. And yet their access to financial services remains obscured by unfavourable business and regulatory environments, cultural, as well as traditional biases. It is however possible and crucial to overcome and circumvent these social and cultural barriers.

According to JKUAT Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, this is especially key since women hold half of the world’s economic potential.

“It is estimated that by fully incorporating women into the economy would add 12 trillion dollars to the global GDP by the year 2025. One of the surest ways of doing that is by helping women unleash their power to control their economic futures by investing in financial inclusion,” she averred.

Prof. Ngumi was speaking Thursday 27 October, 2022, at the Kenya Commercial Bank’s unveil event of the Women Proposition Agenda, where she presided as the Chief Guest. Themed ‘Female-Led and Made Enterprises’ (FLME), the KCB initiative is undertaking to fan the flame of women enterprises, setting aside KES. 250 Billion for the next 5 years to lend to women entrepreneurs.

“We are looking at putting in place strategic business interventions that will emphasize the need to challenge and work around gender identities, in addition to imparting soft skills geared toward changing mindsets about women entrepreneurship,” said Ms. Annastacia Kimtai, KCB’s Director of Retail Banking.

Prof. Ngumi and the KCB Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Samuel Makome follow proceedings during the event.

To fully address the financial and non-financial needs of Women MSMEs, the KCB intends to place greater focus on tailored credit & other financial service offerings, training programs, digitization efforts, & improvements in the dissemination of available support.

While lauding the bank’s initiative of banking on women, Prof. Ngumi called on them and the banking industry in general, to look beyond just financial services when it comes to women entrepreneurs. It is equally crucial, she held, for banks to put into consideration the factors that have held women back over the decades, and innovate solutions around them.

The Vice Chancellor further committed to walking with KCB the journey of empowering women entrepreneurs, underscoring the instrumental role financial literacy and business skills play in ensuring sustainable enterprises.

“JKUAT commits to collaborate with you in regard to capacity building and training on all matters financial literacy, business courses, value addition, and any other tailor-made short courses that are relevant to the needs of the women entrepreneurs you will be working with,” she pledged.

At the same time, she called upon the bank to extend support to women entrepreneurs drawn from the university, underpinning the strides the university has made towards becoming an entrepreneurial university.

It is undeniable that enterprise development remains a crucial engine of economic growth and job creation. KCB’s bold and elaborate move towards banking on East African women entrepreneurs will definitely trigger positive tectonic shifts in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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