Finance & Economics

Westpac Announces Initiatives To Back Women Business Leaders

Westpac announced new measures to help female-led SMBs with dedicated start-up and scale-up loans, as research reveals accessing finance is one of the main challenges for women in business

Westpac Announces Initiatives To Back Women Business Leaders

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Australian banking corporation Westpac has declared its ongoing commitment to back more women in business with the new support measures, including dedicated start-up and scale-up loans.

The new initiative is part of the total $500 million program to help female-led small businesses to start or grow. They will include:

  • Start-up loans. Unsecured $10,000 – $50,000 loans with terms of up to three years for female-led businesses that have operated for less than 12 months. The applicants need to provide a sound business plan and budget projections to access funding, instead of the two years of financials required for a standard loan of this type.
  • Scale-up loans. Secured and unsecured loans between $10,000 and $1 million with terms of up to three years aimed at existing businesses willing to grow. The requirements for these businesses are less than three years of operations and one year of financials.

Westpac Group Chief Executive, Consumer & Business Banking, Chris de Bruin, admitted that businesses established by women are still underrepresented in Australia. Thus, women represent around 36% of Australian small business owners. Moreover, the bank’s recent research revealed that accessing finance is one of the primary and most pressing challenges faced by female business owners.

"Boosting women’s entrepreneurship in Australia is important to the economy. The longstanding gender pay gap represents a missed opportunity for innovation, social and economic value creation, and job creation. A diverse and inclusive workforce generates tangible benefits, such as increased efficiency, productivity, innovation, creativity, and improved employee engagement."
Chris de Bruin

Despite decades of the gender equality movement progress, many business industries still have a wide pay gap and gender-biased career opportunities. Here is where fintech stands on gender diversity.

Nina Bobro

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Nina is passionate about financial technologies and environmental issues, reporting on the industry news and the most exciting projects that build their offerings around the intersection of fintech and sustainability.