Women Enterprise Fund in Kenya: Here are The Products , Services And How To Apply For A Loan
Looking to start or expand your business in Kenya? Learn about the Women Enterprise Fund and access affordable credit, marketing support, and more.
Kenyan women contribute significantly to the agricultural sector, producing a substantial portion of the country's agricultural goods. Similarly, in the informal cross-border trade sector, women engage in the exchange of goods across borders. Despite their crucial contributions to these sectors, women often face challenges when accessing credit and financial resources.
These challenges are not limited to agriculture and cross-border trade. Women entrepreneurs across various industries have faced barriers in obtaining the funding necessary to start or expand their businesses. Recognizing these issues, both public and private institutions in Kenya have taken steps to address these financial disparities.
This comprehensive article delves into the Women Enterprise Fund in Kenya, providing valuable insights into its products, services, and the process of applying for loans.
History and Overview of Women Enterprise Fund
The Birth of Empowerment
In 2007, the Kenyan government conceived a strategic plan to uplift women nationwide by providing them with accessible and affordable financial and business services. This visionary initiative birthed the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF), a pivotal institution in Kenya's drive to empower women of all ages, backgrounds, and education levels.
Three Phases of Empowerment
The Women Enterprise Fund's journey towards empowering women can be divided into three distinct phases, each characterized by its own set of strategic plans:
- The First Plan (2009-2012): This initial phase marked the nascent steps of the Women Enterprise Fund, focusing on laying the foundation for women's financial empowerment. During this period, the Fund worked diligently to create the necessary infrastructure and support systems to facilitate access to financial resources for women.
- The Second Plan (2013-2017): Building upon the successes and lessons of the first phase, the Women Enterprise Fund launched its second strategic plan. This phase was marked by an increased outreach to women entrepreneurs across Kenya, aiming to extend the benefits of financial support and business services to a broader audience.
- The Latest Program (2018-2022): The third and most recent phase of the Women Enterprise Fund's journey is characterized by a continued commitment to empower women. The Fund has expanded its reach, enhanced its services, and further solidified its role as a crucial institution for women entrepreneurs in Kenya.
Products and Services
Tuinuke Loan: Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme
The Tuinuke Loan, part of the Constituency Women Enterprise Scheme (CWES), is a flagship product of WEF. It is specifically aimed at registered women's groups seeking to initiate or expand their businesses within their constituencies. This loan product is a cornerstone of WEF's mission to provide accessible and affordable credit to women entrepreneurs.
To qualify for the Tuinuke Loan, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Belong to a registered self-help group comprising 10 members and above.
- The group should comprise 100% women or have a composition of 70% women and 30% men.
- Women must hold all leadership positions and account signatories.
- Must have an account in a Bank, SACCO FOSA, Post Bank, or Deposit Taking Microfinance (DTM).
- The group must have been in existence for at least 3 months.
- Groups must undergo training in business management skills by WEF officers as a prerequisite for the loan application.
The Tuinuke Loan offers several features that make it an attractive financing option for women entrepreneurs:
- Interest-free loan with only a 5% administrative fee.
- A grace period of 1 month.
- Loan duration ranges from 12 to 24 months, depending on the cycle.
- The graduation principle applies, with loan amounts increasing with each cycle:
· 1st Cycle: Kshs. 100,000
· 2nd Cycle: Kshs. 200,000
· 3rd Cycle: Kshs. 350,000
· 4th Cycle: Kshs. 500,000
· 5th Cycle: Kshs. 750,000
Prospective borrowers can obtain Tuinuke Loan application forms free of charge from the Fund's Regional Offices at all provincial headquarters. Additionally, applicants can visit the Women Enterprise Fund Head Offices at NSSF Building, Eastern Wing, Block A, on the 11th, 12th, and 14th floors to access application forms.
LPO Financing: Meeting Supply Requirements
LPO Financing is another vital product offered by WEF, strategically tailored to increase the capacity of women entrepreneurs to respond to supply requirements and effectively service tenders. This product is critical in enabling women-owned enterprises to participate in procurement processes and fulfil contracts.
To qualify for LPO Financing, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- The company must be registered with the relevant government body.
- Membership composition for companies, groups, and partnerships should be at least 70% women and 30% men (or 100% women).
- Acceptable collateral includes bank guarantees, shares, or motor vehicles.
LPO Financing provides the following features:
- A one-off administration fee of 5% of the loan amount.
- Loan tenure of 90 days.
- Repayment terms within 90 days.
- The maximum loan amount is Kshs. 2 million.
- The amount financed is 60% of the LPO amount.
To apply for LPO Financing, interested individuals or companies should follow these steps:
- Complete the LPO Financing application form.
- Pay the one-off administration fee.
- Sign the indemnity terms and conditions.
- Receive bid/tender security upon successful processing.
Bid Bond Financing: Navigating the Tendering Process
Bid Bond Financing is a specialized product aimed at assisting women entrepreneurs in meeting the requirements of the tendering process. It is a valuable resource for women who own businesses and wish to participate in government or private sector tenders.
The eligibility criteria for Bid Bond Financing are straightforward:
- Fill out the bid bond application form.
- Pay the required commission.
- Sign the indemnity terms and conditions.
- Receive bid/tender security upon successful application processing.
Bid Bond Financing provides the following features:
- Commission of 1% of the guarantee amount, subject to a minimum of Kshs. 1,000.
- Minimum amount: Kshs. 50,000.
- Maximum amount: Kshs. 2,000,000.
SACCO Lending: Access to Cooperative Loans
SACCO Lending is a product offered by WEF that enables individual women to access loans from Savings and Credit Cooperative Organizations (SACCOs) to support the development of their businesses. This product fosters financial inclusion by connecting women with cooperative institutions.
To qualify for SACCO Lending, applicants must be members of a SACCO.
The application process for SACCO Lending typically involves working with the specific SACCO from which the loan is sought. Applicants should liaise with their respective SACCOs to initiate the loan application process.
How to Apply for a Loan
Accessing the financial and business services provided by the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) is a straightforward process designed to empower women entrepreneurs in Kenya. Whether you are seeking a Tuinuke Loan, LPO Financing, Bid Bond Financing, or other WEF services, here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply:
Visit a WEF Office:
· The most direct way to apply is to visit the Women Enterprise Fund office. WEF has offices strategically located across Kenya, making it accessible to women entrepreneurs in various regions.
· If you prefer to initiate the application process remotely, you can contact WEF through phone or email. The dedicated staff at WEF are ready to assist you with any inquiries and guide you through the application process.
· Be prepared to provide essential documents during the application process. These documents typically include identification, business registration certificates, and bank statements. The specific requirements may vary depending on the product or service you are applying for.
· For added convenience, WEF has introduced a mobile application method. You can apply for certain WEF products directly from your smartphone. Dial *254# on your phone's dial code and select "Women Fund." Follow the on-screen instructions to access the loan or service of your choice.
For any inquiries, assistance, or to initiate your application, you can reach out to the Women Enterprise Fund team through the following contact information:
- Email: [email protected]
- Phone: +254 0714606845-6
- Physical Location: NSSF Building, Block A, Eastern Wing, 11th Floor
In conclusion, the Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) is pivotal in Kenya's mission to empower women entrepreneurs. Through tailored products and services, WEF provides accessible and affordable credit, procurement support, and financial resources to women nationwide.
Following the steps outlined in this section, you can navigate the application process and leverage WEF's offerings to support your business aspirations. Whether you are a member of a women's group seeking to expand your enterprise or an individual entrepreneur aiming to fulfil tenders, WEF is committed to helping you succeed.