First Bank launches unique digital lending program for women, to boost women’s inclusion


In a bid to promote women entrepreneurs in the country, First Bank of Nigeria has announced the launch of the FirstGem Fund, a single digit loan scheme, exclusively designed to give women an edge by contributing to the socio-economic development of the country. .

The FirstGem Loan Program is designed for women-owned or partnered SMEs in the following sectors; Catering and Catering, Transport, Beauty and Cosmetics, Confectionery, Packaging and Agric/Agro-Allied.

The loan comes with an interest rate of 9% per annum and an unsecured loan available to existing and potential female clients of the bank. Clients can access loans ranging from N500,000 to N3,000,000.

Registration for the Tekedia Mini-MBA edition 9 (Sept. 12 – Dec. 3, 2022) has started. register here. The cost is N60,000 or $140 for the 12 week program.

Speaking at the launch of the First Gem fund lending scheme, First Bank Group Head Folake Ani-Mumuney had this to say: “We are excited about the role our First Gem product is playing in creating an avenue to expand the business activities and endeavors of women entrepreneurs across the country. Our First Gem value proposition offers real solutions to the constraints faced by women entrepreneurs and professionals, as it exposes women to opportunities for the advancement of their business.

We implore all business minded women to take advantage of the First Gem loan as it gives them an edge to contribute their quota to the economy”

This is not the first time First Bank has supported women, earlier this year it partnered with CDC/BII to support women and small business owners with a US$100 million credit facility. . In Africa, the gender gap in access to financial loans is believed to be due to the perception women entrepreneurs have of themselves.

Globally, women’s access to financial loans is disproportionately low. After serious questions about what fuels the gender disparity in access to financial loans that particularly affects women. A few economists have found that one of the factors that excludes women from the credit market is due to high interest rates and collateral requirements.

High interest rates discourage many women entrepreneurs from applying for loans, and many women do not own properties to use as collateral for loans, unlike their male counterparts.

Even when these women do eventually gain access to these loans, they face tougher rules. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, women’s ability to access loans is disheartening as their contributions to the economy have been undermined, which also results in a gross underestimation of women’s socio-economic contribution to the economy.

These women face financial constraints of credit in small and medium enterprises, which often prevents them from growing. Although the narrative is gradually changing, a report has revealed that women in Africa are believed to be leading the majority of businesses on the African continent.

These women own and operate about one-third of all formal sector businesses and they also represent the majority of informal sector businesses. It has been proven that women are more enterprising when exposed to opportunities, coupled with access to resources.

Despite low access to financial loans, few women still thrive despite all the chances of success. Some of them dominated certain industries like agriculture and fashion. This shows that with better access to financial loans, many Nigerian/African women entrepreneurs will see their businesses flourish, which will also have an impact on the economy of the country.


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