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IFC Supports Bank of Georgia in Expanding Lending to Smaller Businesses, Female Entrepreneurs

Tuesday, July 24
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Bank of Georgia to expand lending to smaller business, especially those owned by women, supporting financial inclusion and improving the competitiveness of Georgia’s economy.

IFC is providing Bank of Georgia with a $25 million loan to support the lender in reaching out to female entrepreneurs, who face more challenges accessing credit than their male counterparts. Through the bank’s network of 164 branches, the program is expected to help small and medium enterprises (SME) both inside and outside of the capital. This is IFC’s first loan in Georgia under its Banking on Women program, which helps women to play a greater role in the economy.

“Growing our SME loan portfolio remains one of the objectives of the bank’s retail banking division,” said Irakli Gilauri, Bank of Georgia CEO. “This partnership will allow Bank of Georgia to extend financing to women entrepreneurs who play a vital role in the development of the country’s SME sector and will help create more job opportunities in the Georgian economy.”

Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager, South Caucasus, said, “This agreement will help small and medium enterprises in Georgia continue to expand and modernize. Women-owned businesses represent an untapped market for financial institutions and this project will encourage lending to women entrepreneurs, helping improve the lives of a wide section of society.”

IFC supports female entrepreneurship as an important part of its mission to foster sustainable private sector growth in developing countries. IFC works with financial institutions to expand financial services to women entrepreneurs through specialized credit lines, market analyses, and capacity building. IFC launched its Banking on Women program in Europe and Central Asia in 2011 to support lending to women through financial intermediaries.

IFC is a shareholder of Bank of Georgia Holdings, Bank of Georgia’s UK-incorporated holding company, which took a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange on February 28, 2012.

Georgia has been a member of IFC since 1995. IFC’s cumulative investments in the country to date total $660 million in 42 projects across various sectors. IFC Advisory Services projects in Georgia focus on reforming the tax system to benefit small businesses, helping raise food safety standards, and strengthening the risk-management practices of banks.