Kenyan commercial banks are at times known to shun lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) due to perceived risk in favor of salaried individuals in terms of personal loans, salary advances or ussd loans and larger institutions.
Consequently, SMEs are left with no option but to rely on microfinance institutions for working capital loans.
However, due to changing times, most banks have embraced SMEs especially women-led businesses and as such have come up with various initiatives as well as credit facilities aimed at empowering and growing their businesses.
Below are some of the Kenyan banks which offer products and services exclusively to women in business.
a) She Business Account
Targeted towards women in business in the provision of business banking solutions that grant accessibility to affordable credit, local & global markets, business-based information in addition to mentorship programmes aimed at business growth.
Absa SHE business account owners have access to;
i. Unsecured business loans of up-to Ksh10M to be repaid within 6 years
ii. Asset finance options repayable within 6 years
iii. Unsecured LPO financing options of up to 12M
iv. Invoice discounting of up-to 50M
v. Affordable mortgage options with supplementary technical support on home purchases
vi. Grace period of 60 days on all loan facilities
vii. Credit card limit of up-to Ksh500K
viii. 50-day interest free credit on virtual credit card to M-Pesa transfers
ix. Insurance finance options on vehicle and asset purchases.
To apply for the Absa SHE account, the below requirements are needed for both sole proprietorship and limited companies.
|Sole Proprietor||Limited Companies|
|Registered certificate||Incorporation certificate|
|National ID (Kenyans)/Passport (foreigners)||National ID (Kenyans) and Passport (foreigners)|
|One passport-size photo||One passport size photo for each signatory/director|
|KRA PIN certificate||Company KRA PIN certificate|
|Residential address confirmation||Residential address confirmation for each signatory/director|
|Company address confirmation||Company address confirmation|
|Signed Absa account opening pack||Signed Absa account opening pack|
|Revenue stamp||Revenue stamp|
|Proof of personal KRA returns||Proof of annual returns|
|Memorandum and Articles of Association|
b) Absa + Melanin Kapital
Through a Ksh10B kitty partnership with Melanin Kapital (MSME focused digital lender), Absa provides credit to women-led businesses with annual turnover of not less than Ksh1M
On the other hand, Melanin Kapital provides financial training based on sustainable business models, capacity building, mentorship & networking opportunities to the women business owners.
2. Bank Of Africa (in partnership with IFC)
Through Bank Of Africa’s partnership with IFC (World Bank member focused on providing capital and expertise in creating markets & opportunities in the private sectors of developing countries), there is a risk reduction in loans extended to women-owned businesses by BOA.
This is possible through risk-mitigation whereby IFC covers 50% of the loans up-to $5M
In addition, IFC also offers advisory support services to the bank to assist it scale up its lending in challenging markets.
3. Co-Op Bank (Msamaria Women’s Loan)
In promoting women empowerment, Co-op bank targets women in business seeking working capital & investment opportunities in the expansion of their businesses through the Msamaria Women’s loan product.
Msamaria Women’s loan offers two product options which include;
a) MCo-op cash instant loans with limits ranging from between Ksh50 to Ksh1M repayable between 1-6 months.
b) Business loans have a maximum loan limit of Ksh10M repayable for up-to a duration of 36 months whereby for amounts between;
– Ksh5,000 – Ksh300K, repayment duration is 12 months
– Ksh300K – Ksh1M, repayment duration is 18 months
– Amounts above 1M, repayment duration is 36 months
To apply for the Msamaria Women’s loan, the below requirements should be met.
i. Business should be in operating for at least 1 year
ii. Business should be receiving regular income
iii. Business should be operating with a valid business license
iv. Applicant should possess a Co-op account
v. Provide 6-months bank statement
vi. Provide copy of KRA PIN certificate
vii. Availability of loan security/collateral
4. Credit bank (elev8HER)
Through the elev8HER initiative, women in business are able to access both short & long term financing options for their businesses.
In addition, it also provides a platform (ehub) that enables business scaling & competitiveness across various industries as well as affordable home/business insurance cover options.
To open an elev8HER account with Credit bank, simply fill in the account creation online form.
For Credit bank account holders looking to upgrade to the elev8HER account, fill in the account upgrade form
To open a business elev8HER account, contact Credit bank through the below contact details;
Phone: 0709 072 000 / 020 228 3000
5. Diamond Trust Bank (Zawadi account)
Through the Zawadi account, women are able to access business loans as well as financial mentorship programmes to help them acquire the necessary skills needed for efficient running of their businesses.
In addition, the Zawadi programme also provides various financial skills touching on money management in terms of budgeting and investing.
To open a Zawadi account, simply visit any of the DTB branches with your national ID card, KRA PIN certificate and passport size photo.
6. Ecobank (ellevate)
Ecobank’s ellevate programme is designed for businesses owned or managed by women by providing them with innovative products/services aimed at business growth.
To enrol to the ellevate programme, simply fill in the inquiry form or visit any of the Ecobank branches with your KRA PIN certificate, passport size photo, national ID & utility bill
7. Equity (Fanikisha)
Through Equity bank’s partnership with UNDP that birthed the Fanikisha programme aimed at promoting and investing in women-led businesses.
Fanikisha offers loans from as low as Ksh1,000 up-to a maximum of Ksh500K repayable within 12 months.
As such Fanikisha has successfully integrated a credit-scoring model to both individuals and women in groups running sole proprietorships, micro-businesses and SMEs
Furthermore, it also encourages women to leverage their group savings & social capital to access credit facilities for their individual and group projects.
Since its inception in 2007 to date, Fanikisha has disbursed Ksh339B to women-led businesses.
To apply to Fanikisha, an applicant is required to;
i. Hold membership in a registered group with the main aim to promote enterprises through access to financial services.
8. Family Bank ( in partnership with AGF )
Through a Ksh1.5B partnership kitty with Africa Guarantee Fund (AGF), Family bank is targeting businesses owned by women through the provision of affordable credit with reasonable terms.
The agreement is aimed at reduction of the perceived risks of SMEs by covering credit facilities such as bank guarantees, letters of credit etc
In addition, AGF also provides technical expertise on business development and climate-smart ventures.
9. Gulf African Bank (Annisaa)
In a bid to promote recognition, appreciation & support to women in business, Gulf bank offers the Annisaa biashara option to women looking to finance their businesses.
The Annisaa biashara provides 100% financial support through loans ranging from between Ksh100,000 to Ksh 3M repayable within 6-18 months.
To apply for the Annisaa biashara loans, an applicant is required to submit a 12-months’ bank/M-Pesa statement.
Moreover, security is also required such as stock, title deeds, logbooks, chattels mortgage etc
10. KCB Bank (FLmE)
KCB bank’s Female-led & Made Enterprise programme, business women are provided with tailored financing options towards the acquisition of assets, trade facilitation as well as business scaling support.
Depending on the business type/size, FLmE offers a wide range of credit solutions ranging from short to long term, secured to unsecured in addition to overdraft facilities.
The FLmE loan options include;
i. Chama loans – Click to apply
ii. Agribusiness loans – Click to apply
iii. SME loans – Click to apply
iv. Small business loans – Click to apply
11. National Bank Of Kenya (Nia)
Towards the provision of financial support, capacity building and mentorship to women owned/led businesses, the NBK introduced the ‘Nia‘ initiative.
Through the initiative, women in business receive a variety of credit facilities such as business loans, asset financing, overdrafts etc as well as technical expertise on business plan development, financial management and marketing/branding strategies to grow their businesses.
Also offered under the Nia initiative, includes a networking programme dubbed ‘You’ve Got Business’ whereby aspiring entrepreneurs interact with experienced business leaders on guidance and advice on business growth.
12. SBM Bank ( in partnership with AGF)
Through a $10M partnership deal with AGF, SBM bank has reduced its perceived risk when financing MSME and also enables it to equip SMEs with the relevant financial management skills as well as technological, leadership, human capital management and marketing skills to grow their businesses.
13. Stanbic Bank (DADA)
Under the Dare To Aspire, Dare To Achieve (DADA) initiative, Stanbic bank offers a variety of financing options to business women.
Such options include;
i. Business loans: contains a Ksh20B kitty reserved for women with viable business plans both in formal/informal sectors
ii. Personal unsecured loans: require no collateral/security
iii. Home loans: require prior bind registration, transfer costs and deposits
iv. Vehicle/Asset Finance:involves short-medium credit facilities towards vehicle purchases
14. Stanchart Bank (Women In Tech)
Under the initiative dubbed ‘Women In Tech, formed through partnership between Stanchart and Strathmore University, female businesses enrol into an incubation programme that provides immersive learning, mentorship & coaching, access to seed financing as well as B2B business marketing.
The incubator programme lasts for 12 weeks and offers up-to Ksh1M equity- free grant seed funding as well as 9-month ongoing support for the top five finalists.
To be enrolled in the WiT programme, the below eligibility criteria have to be met;
i. Business must be operating in Kenya for a period not less than 2 years
ii. Business must be tech-related
iii. Business founder/co-founder must be Kenyan female above 18 years with majority stake in the business
iv. Business must provide proof of support in concept, customer product and business model development.
v. Business model must have clear focus towards sustainable development goals
15. Victoria Commercial Bank ( in partnership with WBC)
Through a Ksh1B kitty agreement between Victoria bank and a US lender targeting SMEs i.e World Business Capital (WBC), women in business receive funding aimed at business growth and expansion.
Categories: Loan Articles
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