The Bahamas Development Bank (BDB) places great focus on progressing the country’s National Development Plan as well as the Sustainable Development Goals inclusive of Goal 5, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. To this aim, the bank has adopted a gender policy and is currently engaging with regional and international bodies such as UN Women and the 2X Collaborative to develop gender-based financing and capacity development programs.
As such, BDB launched the AWE microloan program, which will provide loans of up to $15,000 for women who have graduated from the US Embassy’s Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) Program. The bank has set aside $150,000 for the 2021 graduating class and $100,000 for graduates of previous years.
“It is my pleasure to congratulate the 2021 graduates of the US Embassy’s Academy of Women Entrepreneurs Program,” said BDB Unit Head of Strategic Development and Initiatives Sumayyah Cargill. “We are confident that the rigorous training along with the network of like-minded business persons that you have developed over the past 16 weeks will be of lifelong benefit as you translate your ideas into thriving businesses.”
Investing in women is important to BDB, but also a good business practice as diverse companies perform better and therefore aid in economic diversification and expansion. Qualified applicants will be able to access funding on reduced terms, so that they are able to quickly and easily access the funding they need to grow their businesses.
BDB’s partnership with the AWE Program is the first of many ventures to increase access to finance for Bahamian women entrepreneurs. The bank is actively seeking additional partners to support the elimination of discrimination against women and girls, the empowerment of women, and the achievement of equality between women and men via equitable opportunities for financial inclusion.