HSBC has launched a US$1 billion fund for lending to female-owned businesses over the next 12 months.
Along with the Female Entrepreneur Fund, the bank is also offering a programme to help female entrepreneurs scale and grow their businesses.
The HSBC Roar initiative provides access to a series of masterclasses hosted by experienced business leaders, tailored networking sessions with major companies in markets where the fund operates, insights from the investor community and the opportunity to pitch to angel investors, and bespoke advisory for female entrepreneurs from experienced HSBC bankers.
Access to funding remains one of the biggest hurdles for female entrepreneurs worldwide. Female-owned businesses received just 3% of start-up funding in 2019, while only 2% of venture capital deployed globally went to female-led enterprises. Boston Consulting Group estimates that closing the gender gap for women-led businesses could boost global GDP by US$5 trillion.
Sam Cooper-Gray, global head of market strategy at HSBC Business Banking, says: “The level of funding received over time by female-led businesses is significantly lower than [that for their] male counterparts, while the recent impacts of the pandemic have seen these same businesses disproportionately affected. Female-owned businesses are also less likely to have global networks, meaning international expansion can prove particularly challenging.
“As the global economy continues to rebuild from the impact of the pandemic, small and medium-sized businesses will continue to be the bedrock on which our economies and local communities are built, meaning we need to ensure that those led by women are given the support to fulfil their full potential.”
The HSBC Female Entrepreneur Fund will be open to both new and existing customers across 11 markets – Argentina, Channel Islands/Isle of Man, Egypt, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United States. Fund applicants will have access to masterclasses hosted as part of the HSBC Roar programme.