DEG advisory service: empowering female entrepreneurs in developing countries
Press Release from 2019-12-17 / DEG
Untapped markets for local financial institutions
Empowering women in developing countries while at the same time opening untapped markets for local financial institutions - that is the purpose of a new advisory service of DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH. The “Gender Smart Opportunity Assessment” supports local financial institutions in developing products and services to better suit the needs of women. “Financial institutions can thus expand into previously weakly tapped markets, increase their customer base and often increase profits. Women, in turn, benefit in different ways: as entrepreneurs who gain better access to credit, as employees who are offered more employment opportunities and as consumers who can make use of tailor-made offerings”, says Christiane Laibach, Chairwoman and designated CEO of DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH.
Three pilot projects with DEG customers
The "Gender Smart Opportunity Assessment" has already been piloted at three DEG customers, the Mexican leasing company MEGA – Operadora de Servicios Mega, Zanaco Bank Plc in Zambia and Indonesian financial service provider Indosurya. The assessment included on-site interviews with staff and management, branch visits and client visits as well as benchmarking against peers, conducted by a team of consultants. All three DEG customers received recommendations on how to better reach and serve female target groups.
The assessment conducted at MEGA showed that the market segment of lease companies has few women-led companies in its portfolio. One of the recommendations therefore was to address sectors with a large proportion of female entrepreneurs, such as restaurants or wineries, or companies that specifically target women.
Mexican leasing company launches action plan
MEGA has recognised this potential: “We have developed an action plan to implement these recommendations. Empowering women has always been a key priority for us. The findings of the assessment now also demonstrate the economic necessity. Competition in Mexico is tough and we strive to expand our market share by positioning us as the leading finance institution for women entrepreneurs,” said CEO Ignacio Gonzalez on completion of the assessment. Another advantage is that leasing does not require any collateral and therefore meets the needs of many female entrepreneurs.
MEGA is planning to significantly increase the share of women-led companies in its portfolio to 40 per cent within the next three years. To this end, targets have been defined for its regional branches and client relationship managers. MEGA has also been conducting further market studies based on the recommendations in order to recognise the particular needs of female entrepreneurs and to develop product ideas tailored to these needs.