The WomenWork Network has announced that it has launched a new initiative dubbed Rebuild, that will offer emergency loans to women entrepreneurs in Kenya.
WomenWork has partnered with Mastercard Foundation to launch the Rebuild program which will offer emergency loans and business expertise to women entrepreneurs in Kenya.
The Rebuild Program includes an emergency interest-free short-term working capital loan for businesses, expert-driven business training and support from an engaging peer community of other women entrepreneurs. All of this will be delivered online.
This is the first time that WomenWork is running such an initiative in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation in Kenya. The emergency loan facility is aimed at providing a soft landing against COVID-19 which has disproportionately affected women-owned businesses.
The Rebuild business support loans for women-owned businesses by WomenWork is part of the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program including three other organisations, with technical support from the Grassroots Business Fund and 4G Capital.
The commitment of Kenya Shillings 1.5 billion from the Mastercard Foundation to help to cushion the economy in Kenya will be channeled through four lead partner organisations. This will be in support of a series of interventions that will facilitate business continuity for over 25,000 MSMEs with less than ten employees and revenue of below Ksh. 500,000. The loans are primarily targeted at businesses owned and run by the youth, particularly young women such as those in the WomenWork network.
The short-term emergency loans are for job protection and working capital payable in two months with no interest, collateral or fees to enable the businesses to survive through the pandemic and beyond. The eligibility for the loans includes an outline of the proposed use of funds and the ability to repay. Individual businesses will access loans starting from a minimum of Ksh. 31,200. Borrowers can apply for additional emergency loans after repayment of the first one.
The loan facility is open to businesses across all sectors that are operational in Kenya for at least six months and have 51% or more women shareholding, 50 employees or less, and generate revenues of up to Ksh. 5 million. Successful applicants of the Rebuild Program by WomenWork in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation will receive the emergency funds directly to their mobile money accounts.
In addition to the funding, program participants will receive a business needs assessment and be able to address any gaps with business experts. They will also join a network of diverse women entrepreneurs for peer support. Building off of the existing WomenWorkKE Facebook group, all aspects of the program will be delivered online to meet the changing needs and preferences of women entrepreneurs.
WomenWork is a technology-driven company focused on the advancement of African women entrepreneurs through digital peer-to-peer communities, knowledge enhancement, and access to capital to improve their chances of success. WomenWork focuses on first time women entrepreneurs who are navigating a rapidly changing business environment. They are the missing middle contributing to Africa’s economies today and who will be tomorrow’s leaders.
WomenWork was founded by two female entrepreneurs, Isis Nyong’o and Asha Mweru in 2017. Starting with a closed WomenWorkKE Facebook group, the network has organically grown to over 4,000 women entrepreneurs from diverse industries who are leveraging the peer-to-peer community to grow their business networks, gain support, increase their customer base and deepen their business knowledge.
To apply for WomenWork Rebuild program, go to rebuild.womenwork.co.ke/rebuild.