Printable Version

OPIC, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, IFC Sign Commitment with ACLEDA Bank Plc. to Support Women-owned SMEs in Cambodia

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

(OPIC)  Access to Finance is a Challenge for Many Women in Developing Countries – In Cambodia, while 41 Percent of SMEs are Owned by Women, the majority are underserved by financial institutions

Unmet Demand for Financing is Estimated at $67 Billion Per Year for Women-Owned SMEs in East Asia

WASHINGTON – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, and IFC’s (International Finance Corporation) Banking on Women program have signed a commitment with ACLEDA Bank Plc., a leading commercial bank in Cambodia, to support women-owned small and medium sized (SMEs) businesses in Cambodia.

OPIC will be providing a $30 million loan to ACLEDA Bank Plc. as part of the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and IFC partnership to increase access to capital for up to 100,000 women entrepreneurs. To date, this first of its kind facility has made approximately $600 million in commitments to financial institutions in 17 countries around the world through partnerships with multiple institutions.

In Cambodia, while 41 percent of SMEs are owned by women, the majority are underserved or unserved by financial institutions. Economic research demonstrates that investing in women owned businesses, and increasing female participation in the labor force, can create large financial returns. However, limited access to finance remains a challenge for many women in developing countries. In East Asia and the Pacific specifically, unmet demand for financing is estimated at $67 billion per year for women owned small and medium businesses.

“The number one barrier to women entrepreneurs and small businesses is lack of access to capital,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC President and Chief Executive Officer. “When it comes to starting a business, keeping a business running, or growing a business, women are forced to do more with less. Or they decide to not start their business at all. I’m proud to join Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, IFC and ACLEDA Bank Plc. to provide capital, support, and resources for women-owned businesses in Cambodia. Together, this facility will help bring women into the market and grow their ideas into businesses.”

“Goldman Sachs research shows that closing the credit gap for women-owned SMEs in emerging markets could push income per capita an average of 12% higher by 2030; women entrepreneurs have real potential to impact Cambodia’s future growth as a result of this commitment,” said Dina Habib Powell, Head of Goldman Sachs’ Impacting Investing Business and President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, who oversees the 10,000 Women initiative. “We have seen this impact in many countries around the world over the past several years through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative and our partnership with IFC.”

IFC Global Director, Financial Institutions Group, Marcos Brujis said “IFC welcomes these new commitments, which will help to close the financing gap for women in Cambodia. Working together in these focused partnerships, as key players in the finance industry, we can make a tremendous difference. Financial inclusion for women is critical to economic prosperity and IFC’s Banking on Women program is committed to achieving this in a profitable and sustainable manner.”

"ACLEDA Bank Plc. has worked with 439,544 active borrowing customers of which 50.28% of them were women as of September 2016. The best thing about women, they have been very associated with business expertise and financial management talents from households to businesses. These will help them manage their enterprises effectively and efficiently, like other entrepreneurs. They have faced common barriers of limited access to finance, but culturally barriers might establish additional hinder for women entrepreneurs than their peers of entrepreneurs. OPIC, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, and IFC syndicated finance joining forces with ACLEDA Bank Plc., the Bank You Can Trust the Bank for the People and its rich branches and offices network will significantly broaden financial resources and access for those keen women entrepreneurs in Cambodia," said Dr. In Channy, President and Group Managing Director of ACLEDA Bank Plc.

This will loan be used to provide women-owned start-ups with loans for working capital, expansion capital, and equipment. The project will leverage Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and IFC’s joint Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF) to incentivize ACLEDA to finance underserved women-owned enterprises.