HomeNewsShot in the arm for city businesswomen

Shot in the arm for city businesswomen

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A MICROFINANCE company, Nissi Finance, has launched a fund to assist businesswomen in Bulawayo, who find it difficult to access loans from banks because they cannot provide collateral.

Report by the Bureau Chief

In an interview yesterday, Nissi Finance public relations officer and former Miss Zimbabwe Lorraine Maphala, said the scheme — which offers finance to the tune of $300 000 — was started at the beginning of this month in Bulawayo, but was likely to spread to other areas next year.

“We are aiming at empowering women through entrepreneurship,” she said.

“We know there are a lot of businesswomen in the city with vast potential, but have funding challenges mainly because they can’t get finance because of collateral requirements.

“With this scheme, collateral requirements are relaxed and more appropriate systems for analysing loans and character are used.

“It’s for women in business, including informal traders.”

Maphala said the minimum loan was $500 and the repayment period was three months with an interest of 10% per month, much less than the 30% charged by most finance houses.

She said under the scheme, Nissi Finance — established in 1996 — had both individual and group loans.

“Group loans mostly apply to individuals (in groups) who lack adequate collateral security and in this case, there is no tangible security to secure credit, thus group members guarantee each other,” Maphala said.

“Those who come under a group, are trained in the concept of group financing.

“The idea is peers tend to persuade repayment more than programme staff, since each member’s default is covered by all.”

She said the scheme considered businesswomen recommended by community-based organisations offering project training skills or premises to operate from, but could not offer financial services to the people it serves.

“Since these organisations offer skills training, our organisation provides financial services to members of those organisations through the community-based organisation,” Maphala said.

“Through this method, the organisation with members who have been served with financial services, becomes partly responsible for the repayment of the loan.”

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