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IFC’s Women in Business (WIN) Program, formerly known as Gender Entrepreneurship Markets (GEM), was established in 2004, initially focusing on Africa. In 2008, the program expanded beyond Africa. The program provides loans to banks to lend to women and uses Business Edge™ to train women entrepreneurs – both before and after they have received loans - to help them run their businesses more effectively and profitably.

Elizabeth Mayanja – DFCU Bank Woman Entrepreneur

Landscape gardener and designer Elizabeth Mayanja Kyesitalo is the founder of the highly successful company, ‘Plants for Africa’, based in Kampala, Uganda. She said, ‘The business planning and financial management training gave me the confidence I needed to go back to DFCU Bank and renegotiate better terms for my loan. I managed to get a lower interest rate and repayment over the period that I wanted. After that, I was able to turn my business around and my banking became a lot easier. IFC also advised that I could invest in skilled labor and this propelled my business to a different level. They taught me that if you invest in trained people, then you increase your production.”

Plants for Africa currently employs over 120 people, including farmers.

Our Products

  1. Financing Products and Advisory services to client Banks:
    The WIN team helps banks reach more women clients. Advisory services to banks include: marketing strategies, product development and positioning, collateral flexibility, staff training and client relationship management, with the aim of improving their service delivery to women. The WIN team provides exposure to the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA), a group that helps banks collaborate on identifying and sharing global best practices in financial services delivery to women.

    “Not only is the WIN product in line with our growth strategy but it has also helped us to unlock significant value in women-owned businesses.”

    G. Kadzakumanja, Deputy CEO, NBS Bank, Malawi

  2. Specialized training for women entrepreneurs:
    Understanding that women entrepreneurs need more than bank products, the WIN team works with banks to coach local consultants to train women entrepreneurs on business skills and confidence to present their business cases to bankers successfully. Additional services include broad business or sector specific courses, mentoring and networking events.

  3. The Global Banking Alliance (GBA) for Women
    The GBA is a consortium of financial institutions committed to providing customized products for women entrepreneurs. GBA members collaborate on identifying and sharing global best practices in the delivery of financial services to women. The Alliance currently has 22 banks from Africa, Europe, Asia and America and works in collaboration with IFC.

    “Successfully reaching the women’s market in Nigeria is key to achieving our retail and small business goals. Our partnership with the GBA has assisted us in realizing this goal.”

    Aigboje Aig-Imoukhede, Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Nigeria

  4. Improving the investment climate
    IFC’s Women in Business program helps remove gender barriers in the business environment to allow the full participation of women in the private sector The newly launched ‘Gender Dimensions of Investment Climate Reform’, a practitioner’s guide, provides a practical approach to integrating gender issues in reforms.

Our Africa footprint

IFC’s Women in Business program is currently operating 11 active projects in sub-Saharan Africa in countries including Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania. The program has helped disburse over $53 million in loans to women entrepreneurs, and trained over 2,000 women in business skills. Below is a brief on achievements of our partner banks and contacts.

Bank: NBS
Contact details: Esnat Nchembe – Marketing Manager
Portfolio to date / #women customers:
$1,56 million to 468 to women entrepreneurs
# Women trained: 271
Bank: Exim Bank
Contact details: Felsiter Simba - WEF Manager
Portfolio to date / #women customers:
$6.5m to 132 women entrepreneurs
# Women trained: 652
Bank: dfcu Bank
Contact details: Stella.X.Atim-Engena - Relationship Manager (Local Business Unit)
Portfolio to date / #women customers:
$16.1m to 297women entrepreneurs, and opened 1,842 new savings accounts.
# Women trained: 382
Other women-targeted products: Land loans, Sacco loans and women investment clubs.
Bank: Access Bank
Contact details: Ms. Nike Omotayo - GEM Unit
Portfolio to date / #women customers:
$33 million to xx women entrepreneurs + 1,300 new accounts
# Women trained: 650
Bank: Raw Bank
Contact details: (
East & South
Comoros Islands
South Africa
South Sudan

West & Central
Burkina Faso
Ivory Coast
Sierra Leone

What Business Edge™ Trainers and Clients are saying about Business Edge™
“The Business Edge™ brand has opened doors for our business in Uganda. Many companies are tired of training solutions that are just events. Business Edge ™ is a partnership between training firms and the client that achieves set business goals.”

Laban Mawungwe, Lap Marketing Consultants and Sub-Saharan Africa’s first Business Edge™ Master Trainer.