The First MicroFinance Company (FMFC) in the Kyrgyz Republic has become the first financial institution in the country to join the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s Women in Business programme in Central Asia. The programme supports women’s entrepreneurship in the Kyrgyz Republic as well as in Mongolia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
The EBRD is providing FMFC with a loan of US$1 million for on-lending to women-led micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and will promote women’s entrepreneurship and participation in business by assisting with access to finance, know-how, technical advice and policy dialogue.
FMFC CEO, Stefan Martiniak stated: “Different loan products are regularly developed and offered to women at the most favourable terms in our company. This project will also enable women to implement their projects and carry out their ideas. It will also provide an opportunity to create new working places, thus, promoting the country’s economic growth. We are confident that women present quite a big business potential and, therefore, we are looking forward to strong results from the project”.
The start of the Women in Business programme was announced on February 11th at an official ceremony attended by Altynai Omurbekova, Vice Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic and the EBRD Director for Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, Neil McKain.
The programme is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative and will offer a comprehensive package of financial and technical support for female business leaders in the Kyrgyz Republic designed to improve MSMEs’ competitiveness.
The Swiss Government through the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs is also supporting the programme by providing advisory services through the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (other donors include: Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Taipei China and the USA).
In the Kyrgyz Republic, small businesses are responsible for around 40 per cent of GDP but only one third of these companies are owned or led by women entrepreneurs.
FMFC is one of the largest microfinance institution in Kyrgyz Republic serving over 20,000 borrowers, through its network of 15 branches.
The EBRD has invested almost €790 million through 191 projects in the economy of the Kyrgyz Republic, with a majority of investments supporting private entrepreneurship.