New initiatives to back more women business leaders

Boosting women’s entrepreneurship in Australia is important to the economy

Westpac has today announced new measures to help more female-led small businesses to get started or to grow with dedicated start-up and scale-up loans.

These support measures are part of a total $US500 million commitment to back more women in business and comes as research from the bank reveals accessing finance is one of many challenges faced by female business owners.

New initiatives Westpac will be rolling out:

  • Start-up loans. Unsecured loans between $US10,000 and $US50,000 with terms of up to three years to help new businesses get started. These are businesses that have operated for less than 12 months and will need to provide a sound business plan and budget projections to access funding^, instead of two years of financials.
  • Scale-up loans. Secured or unsecured loans between $US10,000 and $US1 million with terms of up to three years, designed to help existing businesses to grow. These businesses will have operated for less than three years and will now only require one year of financials to access funding^, rather than two.

Westpac Group Chief Executive, Consumer & Business Banking, Chris de Bruin, says businesses established by women are still underrepresented in Australia.

“Access to capital is not a level playing field, so we’re committing to supporting more businesses led by women.

“This is about backing early-stage businesses with great ideas and providing opportunity so they can succeed.

“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.

“This announcement is key to our broader strategy of supporting more customers and backing the businesses of tomorrow,” De Bruin said.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), women represent around 36 per cent of Australian small businesses owners.

The start-up and scale-up loans will be available in the coming weeks.



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