Press releases

ITC and GroFin launch SheTrades Invest for women entrepreneurs

12 December 2018
ITC News
SheTrades Invest to offer impact capital to women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises across 14 countries

(Geneva) – The International Trade Centre (ITC) and GroFin, a development finance company operating across Africa and the Middle East, today announced the launch of SheTrades Invest, an initiative to increase investment in women-owned businesses in 14 countries across these regions.

SheTrades Invest will help strengthen the financial and managerial capacity of women entrepreneurs, improve their investment readiness, and connect them to impact investors and financiers. As part of this strategic alliance with the ITC, GroFin will deploy risk-impact capital into vetted and eligible small and growing businesses to create economic growth and jobs for women. Businesses in Egypt, Ghana, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Oman are eligible to take part.

‘Women entrepreneurs have tremendous potential to be drivers of growth. Exactly one year on from the adoption of the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade by over 120 World Trade Organisation members and observers, we are pleased to partner with GroFin to launch SheTrades Invest. This demonstrates the ITC’s continued support to realising the commitments of this Declaration. We encourage investors to join the initiative to boost investment into women-owned businesses globally,’ said ITC Executive Director, Arancha González.

Across the world, female entrepreneurs face substantial unmet funding needs. Women in developing countries in particular encounter numerous challenges in starting, growing and managing businesses. These include lack of access to finance, weak financial and management capacity, and lack of access to markets.

‘Women are grossly underserved by the traditional financial sector and this has to be addressed urgently if we are to meaningfully empower women to contribute to economic development and job creation,’ said GroFin CEO, Guido Boysen.

‘GroFin sees this as an opportunity to generate both commercial and development returns for the benefit of all stakeholders. We are pleased to partner with the ITC on SheTrades Invests and believe it will allow us to increase our investments in women-owned or women-led businesses across our key high impact sectors of education, healthcare, agro-processing, manufacturing and key services.’

SheTrades Invest will leverage the large network of women entrepreneurs who are members of the SheTrades initiative, ITC’s flagship programme that aims to connect three million women-owned businesses to international markets by 2021.

SheTrades Invest also capitalizes on GroFin’s 14-year track record, making over 700 investments in small and growing businesses in the Middle East and in sub-Saharan Africa, and supported a total of nearly 90,000 jobs across these regions.

Women-owned businesses and investors interested in joining SheTrades Invest are invited to visit the SheTrades Invest webpage at: SheTrades.com for more information on the conditions of participation and the registration process.

Notes for the Editors

About the SheTrades initiative - The SheTrades initiative aims to connect three million women to market by 2021. The initiative brings together stakeholders around the world to work on seven actions to address trade barriers and create greater opportunities for women entrepreneurs. It is supported by a web and mobile digital platform. For more information, please visit shetrades.com

About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit www.intracen.org. Follow ITC on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

About GroFin - GroFin is a pioneering private development financial institution, specialising in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East, with headquarters in Mauritius. GroFin combines medium term loan capital and specialised business support to grow SGBs in emerging markets, delivered through their local offices. By successfully combining medium term loans and specialised business support, they have invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 88,150 jobs across a wide spectrum of business activities within the operating 15 countries in Africa and the Middle East. GroFin is a trusted partner of more than 30 international development finance institutions, including CDC Group, European Investment Bank, FMO, Finnfund, Kfw, and IFC.

International Trade Centre
Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
P: + 41 22 730 0145
M: + 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] intracen.org