HSBC launches $1bln lending fund for female entrepreneurs

HSBC today announces the launch of a Female Entrepreneur Fund (“Fund”), which will provide US$1bn in lending to female-owned businesses over the next 12 months in 11 markets including Egypt. This comes alongside the introduction of the HSBC Roar initiative, which enables female entrepreneurs to access:

  • 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
  • Bespoke advisory for female entrepreneurs from experienced HSBC bankers

These initiatives aim to break down the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and provide the infrastructure and support to help them scale and grow their businesses.

Access to funding remains one of the biggest hurdles for female business leaders worldwide. Female-owned businesses received just 3% of start-up funding in 2019i, while only 2% of venture capital deployed globally went to female-led enterprisesii. Boston Consulting Group estimates closing the gender gap for women-led businesses could boost global GDP by US$5 trillioniii.

Sam Cooper-Gray, Global Head of Market Strategy at HSBC Business Banking, said: “We are delighted to launch the Female Entrepreneur Fund and the HSBC Roar programme today to help address the challenges and bias that female leaders face.

“The level of funding received over time by female-led businesses is significantly lower than 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 marketsiv and Fund applicants will have access to masterclasses hosted as part of the HSBC Roar programme.

Commenting on the launch, Yasmin Farid, Head of SMEs & Business Banking Commercial Banking at HSBC Bank Egypt said, “Today’s launch demonstrates our support to Egypt’s Vision 2030, clearly placing women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the forefront of the reform agenda. Extending this initiative to Egypt, the first country in the Middle East to see the fund launched, reflects our commitment to provide female entrepreneurs with the opportunity to grow as part of our support to the SME sector in the country.”

The full HSBC Roar programme will also be available to female business leaders across nine markets globallyv. Fund applicationvi details can be found here.

These initiatives build on a number of programmes HSBC has in place that advances women-led businesses:

  • HSBC is a global partner of the Financial Alliance for Women, a members’ network of financial organizations dedicated to championing women’s economic advancement
  • HSBC Roar was piloted last year in Hong Kong, UK and US; this extended program has been designed with feedback from participants and partners including AllBright, a global careers networking community for women.