Absa Bank has partnered with Melanin Kapital, a Pan African investment platform, to launch an investor readiness program to offer up to Ksh. 3 million in unsecured lending to startups in Kenya.
The initiative, dubbed Tuungane2x to See Her Empowered, expects to reach 1,000 women-focused startups and enhance financial inclusion. This is by providing them with financial training, investment-readiness capacity building, structured mentorship, structured networking, and access to finance.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership, Absa Bank’s Business Banking Director Elizabeth Wasunna said, “It has always been risky for investors and lenders to invest in small-scale businesses due to various reasons that also curtail their growth including lack of correct structures and documentations, collateral, relevant networks and track record among other challenges.”
On her part, Melanie Keïta, Melanin Kapital’s CEO said, “As a Pan African digital impact-investment platform, Melanin Kapital aims at making finance possible for early-stage impact businesses by de-risking them, making them investable and connecting them to impact-driven capital. We aim at bridging the SDG financial gap by channeling more investments towards early-stage entrepreneurs operating in Africa, looking for pre-seed, seed as well as funding that focusses on solving a critical social impact challenge.”
As part of the partnership, the bank has also engaged with international partners to de-risk the credit facilities to the start-ups, enabling Absa to offer favorable unsecured loans, ranging from between Ksh. 100,000 to Ksh. 3 million.
To qualify for funding, interested startups will have to access and register through the online program management platform Tuungane2X and undertake a 6-months investment readiness program. The program will culminate into project pitches to impact investors as well as to Absa Bank.
For Absa, this initiative is part of an ongoing campaign targeting to impact over 1 million women entrepreneurs over the next five years through the Absa She Business Account.
“As a bank, we have maintained a strong inclination and commitment towards expanding the role and influence of women in businesses and our partnership with Melanin Kapital is yet another of many of such activities we engage in,” Wasunna added.