Mar 8, 2023 - Economy

First look: Finance program passes target of helping 100,000 women entrepreneurs

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Egyptian entrepreneur Hanan Khalil speaks at a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program at the State Department in 2015. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF) — a partnership between Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women and the International Finance Corporation — on Wednesday will announce it has reached 164,000+ women entrepreneurs, eclipsing the target of 100,000 set at launch nine years ago.

Why it matters: The program tells Axios on International Women's Day that it has provided over $4.5 billion in loans via financial institutions to women-owned businesses.

"Working through 95 financial institutions, the first-of-its-kind finance facility has made more than 172,000 loans in 55 countries, ... promoting an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic," the announcement says.

  • "WEOF-participating financial institutions continue to report healthy growth and strong asset quality in their women-owned SME portfolios."

WEOF was launched in 2014 with funding from the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

  • David Solomon, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO, says in a statement to Axios: "Through this innovative facility, we've helped tens of thousands of women business owners access capital so that they can grow their businesses, reach their potential and drive economic growth."
  • IFC managing director Makhtar Diop said: "Women-owned businesses are a powerful source of job creation and economic growth, but continue to face significant challenges in accessing finance."

🇮🇳 Case in point: Dr. Seema Garg of India, who received funding through WEOF, had risen to become CEO of a 350-bed hospital and vice president of a petrochemical company.

  • But she longed to be her own boss — and launched SB Hospital and Healthcare Private Ltd., a company that designs, builds and renovates hospitals.
  • "My aim is that three years down the line," she says, "if someone is looking to build a hospital, they should call us."

This week is the 15th anniversary of the 10,000 Women in-person business education program, which has reached 200,000+ women in 150+ countries since launching in 2008.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a quote from IFC managing director Makhtar Diop.

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