Equity bank to the rescue as Mama loans economically empower women

2191 women started their journey to financial independence and growth through the Enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion last year, bringing to over 100,000 women and youth who have gone through the program since inception two years ago.

Many have expanded their business and diversified and improved their personal and family welfare because of being intentional in their wealth creation.  Many of the financial literacy graduates continue to hold other women’s hands, empowering and uplifting them in their various groups and communities.

Sylvia Akankwasa from Arua, Rebecca Katisi and YahalaKhasifa from Mbale are some of the graduates of Enterprise Development program and beneficiaries of Equi-mama credit facility. The three are bound by a common thread. When their businesses were on the brink, Equity Bank came to the rescue.

Operating His Grace International, a small stationery shop with an Internet café that had been around for 15 years in Arua; Sylvia Akankwasa became a victim of circumstances. When Covid-19 struck, she fell back on her loan commitments from micro lenders.

“We were on the verge of total collapse. I could not borrow for another 5 years because my Financial Card was too dirty with unsettled obligations. I was considering going to money lenders when Equity Bank came around. They gave me the benefit of the doubt and lent me money under the Equity Mama facility,” Akankwasa recalls.

She has not looked back since. Her stationery shop has grown into a fully-fledged multimedia printing operation, employing seven workers. The bank has given her another line of credit to plant an orchard that will supply raw materials for her fledgling fruit juice and wine factory, also in Arua.

“The loan helped us to recover and stabilise our financials; it rescued us from imminent collapse. One of the reasons we are still around is because they gave us the benefit of the doubt. If they had not given us the money at that time; we would have gone to money lenders and I don’t know how this would have ended,” She adds.

YahalaKhasifa’s experience is similar. “No words can fully express my gratitude to Equity Bank. I have been able to grow. I am also dealing in timber and have the capacity double my business. I have also invested in land and plan to develop it.”

Rebecca’s story is slightly different. The proprietor of Bulambuli RV Millers is constructing a building that she plans to name to Equity bank.One day, on a pure hunch, she walked into an Equity Bank branch in Mbale and inquired about opening a savings account. On being assured there was no limit, she opened a savings account. A year later, her savings had accumulated to UGX12 million.

She bought a piece of land and set about construction. With back-to-back loans under the Equity Mama facility, she has acquired parcels of land and built rentals. Rebecca advises fellow women to partner with Equity Bank to support their growth.

Equity Banks’s Enterprise Development and Financial Inclusion program seeks to stimulate job creation by helping Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMes) access the financial and technical resources that enable them to grow into impactful operations.

The selected MSMEs are given advice mentorship and entrepreneurship training.  The program has a gender bias that favours youth and women.

So far, 115,956 youth, 58 percent of them women, have been trained in Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship Education.



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