In order to promote women-led entrepreneurship in Tajikistan, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) recently initiated a “Women in Business” project. The project was aimed to facilitate development of women-led entrepreneurship. In the framework of the project, financed by the Swiss State Secretariat on Economic Issues, EBRD will provide $8 million to partnering financial institutions – JSC “Bank Eshata” and MDO “Imon International” for further loans to companies managed by women. It will also provide them with business consulting.
The partners already opened two credit lines for 1 million dollars each. The rules for risk distribution and technical assistance offered by EBRD would allow making loans for women-entrepreneurs more affordable. The bank will also provide women entrepreneurs with access to monitoring, training courses, and know-how from the local and international experts for development of their businesses. Additionally, an interesting “Business Lens” project will be implemented. Within this project women entrepreneurs will be able to test their businesses, in terms of how sustainable and how poised for development they are.
Currently, 42% of women in Tajikistan are self-employed and strive for entrepreneurial activity as a sustainable source of income. The majority of enterprises in the country face additional obstacles due to the lack of special financing and client services products. As a result, women are 3.5 times more likely to take loans from family or friends. Low financial literacy and insufficient business skills also limit women’s capacities in business and access to improve their knowledge. Often, activity of enterprises that are managed by women remain focused at the level of small enterprises or patent holders. In accordance with the Tajik legislative classification, this falls under very small and basic enterprises.
Zebunisso Solieva, a successful businesswoman from Khujand, expressed her gratitude to the EBRD team on behalf of all women entrepreneurs and EBRD program participants for the priceless support of entrepreneurs.
Thanks to your projects, the business in our country grows, new technologies get implemented and knowledge and skills of entrepreneurs are increasing. And additionally, women will get more attention and critical support,” said Solieva.
EBRD has worked in Tajikistan since 1992. Over the 25 years of its activities, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development has become one of the respected international financial institutions, and procured $606 million for Tajikistan through various programs. In accordance with The Committee on Affairs of Women and Family under the Government of Tajikistan, this year 80 presidential grants in the amount of two million somoni will be awarded to women entrepreneurs. 415 projects by Tajik women entrepreneurs and housewives were submitted to the competition committee. An annual grant program by the President of Tajikistan for local business women was established by the Government of the Republic in 2006.