As part of its Gender Access to Finance Strategy, the Trade Hub is working with women cereals processors in Burkina Faso to access streams of financing to grow their businesses. From November 7-19, the Hub’s Business Development Specialist, Kafui Djonou, met with these women in Ouagadougou and Bobo to assess how these loans have impacted their business operations.
Since November 2015, the Gender Access to Finance Strategy has helped distribute $235,166 to meet the working capital and investment needs of 19 women-owned businesses. With the funds, these small-to-medium enterprises were able to purchase the equipment necessary to expand their businesses. Items purchased included solar and gas dryers, a delivery van and a motorcycle.
Financial facilitation support from a Trade Hub consultant also gave the women easier and faster access to loans. The consultant coached the women business owners on proper bookkeeping, helped them assess their financing needs and determine the most appropriate micro-finance institution (MFI) to approach, and assisted them in filling out the loan application documents. He also acted as an intermediary between the businesses and MFIs, negotiating loan agreements for the businesses and following up on reimbursement. This has enabled the businesses to access working capital in time to purchase and stock raw materials (maize, rice, millet, sorghum and other cereals) in bulk when the market prices are lower. In addition, they have been able to expand their processing facilities and employ more workers to help meet increasing demand for their products.
“The program gave me the opportunity to increase processing capacity and enabled me to employ new workers—all of whom are women,” said Judith Ouedraogo of Rehoboth. Traore Assetou of ETS Tout Super, a cereals processing company, said: “I received two loans to the tune of CFA 7 million ($11,302) under the program and I have almost completed a new processing facility in Toussiana, which is equipped with two gas driers and a sorting machine for cereals.”
The Trade Hub consultant helped another business, Femmes Solidaires, set up a computerized accounting system, giving the company a more accurate and efficient way to record business activities.
While the Gender Access to Finance Strategy in Burkina Faso will finish in December 2016, preparations are underway to start up the program in Côte d’Ivoire in January 2017.
Click here for more information about the Trade Hub’s Finance and Investment program.