First Bank Launches FirstGem Fund To Strengthen Female-led Businesses

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In furtherance of its commitment to promoting female-led businesses across the country, First Bank of Nigeria has announced the launch of the FirstGem Fund, a single-digit loan scheme that is exclusively designed to put women at an advantage in contributing to the socio-economic development of the country.

The FirstGem loan scheme is designed for female-owned or partnered SMEs in the following sectors; Catering and Restaurants, Transportation, Beauty and Cosmetics, Confectionery, Packaging, and Agric/Agro-Allied.

The loan comes with an interest rate of 9% per annum, and a collateral-free loan that is available to the bank’s existing and prospective female customers. Customers can access loans from N500, 000 to N3, 000,000.

Speaking on the loan scheme, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, First Bank of Nigeria Limited had this to say: “we are delighted with the role our First Gem product plays in creating an avenue to enlarge the business activities and endeavors of female entrepreneurs across the country.”

“Our First Gem value proposition offers real solutions to constraints encountered by female entrepreneurs and working professionals, as it exposes women to opportunities for the advancement of their business.

She added, “we implore every female business-minded individual to take advantage of the First Gem loan as it puts them at an advantage to contribute their quota to the economy”

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This is not the first time First Bank is supporting women-led businesses. Earlier this year, it partnered CDC/BII to support women and small business owners with a US $100 million credit facility.

In Africa, the gender gap in access to financial loans is believed to be driven by women entrepreneurs’ self-perception. Worldwide, women’s access to financial loans is disproportionately low. After serious questions as to what fuels the gender disparity in access to financial loans that particularly affects women. It was discovered by a few economists that one of the factors that excluded women from the credit market is due to high-interest rates and collateral requirements.

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