European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Turkey's Credit Guarantee Fund (KGF) joined hands to expand financing for small and medium-sized businesses run by women.
"The partnership will enable the EBRD to unlock €300 million in new financing to support women’s entrepreneurship in a country where only 34 percent of women participate in the workforce," the bank said in a statement on Thursday.
The KGF will provide risk mitigation to the EBRD’s partner banks through the absorption of a portion of potential losses on their loans extended under the "Women in Business" program jointly developed by the bank, EU, and the Turkish government.
Ismet Gergerli, general manager of the KGF, said the institution helped women to access financing of 355 million liras ($83 million) until today.
"I am grateful to our stakeholders and the EBRD, and hope the program will lead towards greater partnerships,” Gergerli said.
Arvid Tuerkner, EBRD managing director for Turkey, said some 17,000 women received support to grow their businesses since the program was introduced in 2014.
"This is only a beginning. We are honored to join forces with the KGF to unlock further financing for women-led firms," Tuerkner said.
The EBRD provided €300 million ($356 million) to five Turkish lenders — Garanti Bank, QNB Finansbank, TEB, Isbank and Vakıfbank — under the scope of the program.
Two-thirds of this financing has been channeled to companies outside the large metropolitan areas of Istanbul, İzmir and Ankara.
According to the bank, it has invested €10 billion ($12.43 billion) in various sectors since 2009 in Turkey, which is a top destination for the bank’s financing.
"In 2017 alone, the EBRD invested €1.6 billion [$1.99B] in 51 projects in Turkey. Almost a third of this financing was provided in Turkish lira," the bank said.
* Gokhan Kurtaran in London contributed to this report.