The ‘W’ began as a result of the struggles women in business had experienced in terms of funding. It is an online network which harbours an interactive community which aims to inspire and bring women together.
“The ‘W’ woman is almost every woman, it’s that woman who desires to be inspired, and that woman who desires to be connected and empowered, for us it’s all about that initiative to basically ensure financial freedom for women,” Herbert Wigwe, director of Access Bank told CNBC Africa.
The product is meant to affect the life of women in a positive manner to support their businesses and families. The platform is also meant to support a network of women from around the world, who want to be part of the initiative.
“It covers maternal health support, which in a broad term supports several things. Women who want to help their children, women who need financial assistance to complete their studies, health, down to savings product and gender empowerment products,” he further explained.
Wigwe said the product had been given a lot thought and research to make it appropriate, “We spent the better part of eight years to get a product appropriate for women, we started in 2006 and the first time we did it, it was successful even though limited in scope. What we have done now is to actually to broaden the scope.”
“We found out that most of the loans we gave to women had a very low default rate. We believe that the gender which forms 50 per cent of the population that is not being catered to needs to be supported. We believe that equality for women is freedom for everybody.”
He said SMEs today, were controlled about 30 per cent by women and yet nobody payed attention to them.
“We look at how the economy basically functions; you will find out that a third of the SMEs are basically owned by women. SMEs therefore will lead to economy growth for the country.”