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Absa partners with Melanin Kapital to launch unsecured lending for women-focused startups in Kenya

Story Highlights
  • The initiative, dubbed Tuungane2x to See Her Empowered, expects to reach 1,000 women-focused startups
  • The program will place startups driving social impact on the path to accessing up to KES3 million in unsecured lending.
  • The partnership leverages Absa Bank’s expertise as a wholistic financial services institution and Melanin Kapital’s knowledge in the field of impact investment

Absa Bank Kenya has partnered with Pan African impact investment platform Melanin Kapital, to launch an investor readiness program for local startups. The program will place startups driving social impact on the path to accessing up to KES3 million in unsecured lending.

The initiative, dubbed Tuungane2x to See Her Empowered, expects to reach 1,000 women-focused startups and enhance financial inclusion by providing them with financial training, investment-readiness capacity building, structured mentorship, structured networking, and access to finance.

The partnership leverages Absa Bank’s expertise as a wholistic financial services institution and Melanin Kapital’s knowledge in the field of impact investment, especially in connecting entrepreneurs to impact investors through providing them with funding partnerships, investor readiness training and mentorship.

“It has always been risky for investors and lenders to invest in small-scale businesses due to various reasons that also curtail their growth including lack of correct structures and documentation, collateral, relevant networks, and track record among other challenges. ” Elizabeth Wasunna, Business Banking Director, Absa Bank said.

”This partnership is as a result of feedback we have received from SMEs across Kenya and especially startups and through it, we seek to address some of those bottlenecks with the aim of ensuring that they can survive after their 3rd birthday and beyond.” she added.

Commenting on the partnership, Melanie Keïta, CEO, Melanin Kapital sais as a Pan African digital impact-investment platform, Melanin Kapital aims at making finance possible for early-stage impact businesses by de-risking them, making them investable and connecting them to impact-driven capital.

”We aim at bridging the SDG financial gap by channeling more investments towards early-stage entrepreneurs operating in Africa, looking for pre-seed, seed as well as funding that focusses on solving a critical social impact challenge.” she said

As part of the partnership, the two have also engaged with international like-minded partners to de-risk the credit facilities to the startups, enabling Absa Bank to offer favorable unsecured loans, ranging from between KES 100,000 to KES 3 million.

To qualify for funding, interested startups will have to access and register through the online program management platform – Tuungane 2X – and undertake a 6-months investment readiness program that will culminate into project pitches to impact investors as well as to Absa Bank.

Absa says this initiative is part of its ongoing campaign targeting to impact over 1 million women entrepreneurs over the next five years through the Absa She Business Account where the bank offers financial and non-financial solutions designed to accelerate business growth.

“As a bank, we have maintained a strong inclination and commitment towards expanding the role and influence of women in businesses and our partnership with Melanin Kapital is yet another of many of such activities we engage in. In addition, we are committed to continue supporting Micro and Small Enterprises to develop resilience mechanisms to enable them to withstand different social, economic & political circumstances,” Wasunna added.

The Melanin Kapital “Tuungane 2X program” joins the Absa Woman initiative, “To See Her Empowered”, and hence the name Tuungane 2X To See Her Empowered”. The capacity building program aims at empowering women’s small and medium businesses which are the next generation of African women multinational companies by providing them fundraising training, mentorship, business acceleration, access to networking opportunities and access to finance, said Keïta.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I write about tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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