Acleda Bank signed an agreement in Bangkok yesterday with International Finance Corporation and the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative for a $70 million long-term loan project to support Cambodia’s small- and medium-size enterprises (SME) owned by women.
At least 50 per cent of SME borrowers in Acleda’s bank portfolio are women, according to In Channy, president and group chief executive officer of Acleda Bank.
Before the loan given by IFC, a World Bank member, and Goldman Sachs, Channy said that Acleda and SMEs struggled with a huge supply and demand gap. Most clients preferred long-term loans but only short-term loans were available due to insufficient funds.
“The mismatch has limited the growth capacity of Cambodia’s SMEs,” he said. “The new loan from IFC will help us strengthen our capacity to provide loans to businesses that need a longer repayment period.”
While Acleda previously only granted loans for a little over three years, ranging from $1,500 to $3,000, this new loan is designed to have a five-year repayment period.
Noa Meyer, managing director and global head of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative, which provides women entrepreneurs with practical business education, said that access to capital remains a major growth obstacle for Cambodia women entrepreneurs.
“Research has shown that investment in women entrepreneurs can drive significant global growth and improve societies,” said Meyer. “[The new loan] will place more capital in the hands of women entrepreneurs in Cambodia, who will drive future economic growth and job creation.”
Keo Mom, president of Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association, said that loan access for women entrepreneurs has traditionally been much more difficult to get. While she welcomed the initiative, she added that banks also need to increase loan size and offer lower interest rates.
“We need the bank to offer loans without the need for so much collateral,” she said. “I would want the bank to consider stocked goods and equipment as things they can evaluate to determine the loan.”