Today dfcu bank joins the rest of the world to celebrate the Global Entrepreneurship week, a worldwide movement to shine a spotlight on the importance of entrepreneurship to our economy. In 2007, dfcu Bank established the Women in Business program (dfcu WiB) with specific focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and advancing economic growth. Since its launch a total of over 35,000 women have benefited from capacity building sessions.
The program was motivated by a number of factors including the fact that despite women being 52% of the population of Uganda, this was not proportionate to the ratio of women who are banked. The key challenges women face with formal banking include; gender blind bank products and policies especially the one that demands for land title as security yet women own only 10% of the titled land. Majority of women tend to have low financial literacy levels and therefore have challenges documenting their business, articulating their plans and projections which are very key in assessing bank credit. The dfcu WiB program has its own advisory council dedicated to overseeing the smooth running of the program to make sure the purpose to which it was set up is fulfilled.
According to Belinda Namutebi, a WiB Advisory Council member, “Conversations of women running successful businesses should be part of society’s everyday talk so that many more women and girls can embrace the idea.” She further states that, “There is need to communicate available business support opportunities in a language that women understand and business support services should be scaled down to levels that can be accessed by more women at the bottom of the pyramid.”
As communities increasingly encourage entrepreneurs who create jobs, women can be catalysts for large – scale economic growth. The initiative has created a platform that celebrates women entrepreneurs and other startup champions while offering them opportunities to expand their networks, identify resources and share knowledge with other women in the country.
“Challenges in business do not wear gender mask but the case of woman requires a special focus because they seek to pursue opportunities out of their traditional role, they will have to overcome social, cultural and gender barriers to be able to progress in business,” added Belinda.
The time has never been better to celebrate women who have the courage to take smart risks in business, enriching and innovating our lives with the results of their efforts.
Belinda Namutebi one of the new members of the WiB Advisory Council is committed to help break down business information into blocks that are easily accessible and adoptable by women, remind the women that it is possible to overcome the challenges before them and share the importance and skills of building brands out of their businesses using her communication background.