Westpac will soon launch new support measures to help more female-led small businesses get started or grow.
The announcement comes as research from the bank revealed that accessing finance is one of the many challenges faced by female business owners.
Part of a total $500 million commitment to back more women in business, the support measures include:
- Start-up loans: Unsecured loans between $10,000 and $50,000 with terms of up to three years to help new businesses get started. To access the loan, the businesses must have operated for less than 12 months and must provide a sound business plan and budget projections, instead of two years of financials.
- Scale-up loans: Secured or unsecured loans between $10,000 and $1 million with terms of up to three years, designed to help existing businesses to grow. To access the funding, the businesses must have operated for less than three years and must submit one year of financials, rather than two.
Chris de Bruin, Westpac Group chief executive of consumer and business banking, said businesses established by women remain underrepresented in Australia.
“Access to capital is not a level playing field, so we’re committing to supporting more businesses led by women,” de Bruin said. “This is about backing early-stage businesses with great ideas and providing opportunity so they can succeed.
“Boosting women’s entrepreneurship in Australia is important to the economy. The longstanding gender pay gap represents a missed opportunity for innovation, social, and economic value creation, and job creation. A diverse and inclusive workforce generates tangible benefits, such as increased efficiency, productivity, innovation, creativity, and improved employee engagement. This announcement is key to our broader strategy of supporting more customers and backing the businesses of tomorrow.”
Women represent around 36% of Australian small businesses owners, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Terms and conditions, fees and charges, and eligibility criteria will apply for the loans.
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