Collaboration to assist MSMEs step up

Business Assistance Fiji chairperson Dr Nur Bano Ali speaks while FDB chief executive Saud Minam, right, and FCEF chief executive Kameli Batiweti look on at the webinar yesterday. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

The Fiji Development Bank is encouraging women entrepreneurs, whether they are small business operators or MSMEs, to talk to the bank about how it can assist them with access to affordable funding for their business.

FDB chief executive officer Saud Minam said 11 per cent of the bank’s customers were women who ran their own businesses and were doing well.

Mr Minam said the FDB was working on a product for women entrepreneurs which would be launched and rolled out in the next few months.

He made the comments as the chairperson for the Business Assistance Fiji (BAF) Dr Nur Bano Ali, highlighted the challenges women faced, especially in terms of accessing capital for their businesses.

The FDB hosted a webinar with BAF and Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation (FCEF) to discuss collaboration opportunities to further assist the SMEs yesterday.

Dr Ali said most of the commercial banks were hesitant to approve loans for small business operators, mainly women because they did not own any property and could not offer and security on loans as required by banks.

She said through their collaboration with the FDB and FCEF, the BAF would work with SMEs and MSMEs to help improve their financial reports and compliance so that they are in a better position to get access to funding.

FCEF chief executive officer Kameli Batiweti encouraged women entrepreneurs to form co-operatives which would make them stronger.

Mr Batiweti said with its 3.99 per cent interest on loans, MSMEs had an opportunity to have access to affordable funding and an opportunity for them to step up their businesses.

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