Revolving Fund with Standard Chartered Foundation

YBI and Somo launch an innovative revolving loan fund for female entrepreneurs, supported by Standard Chartered Foundation

An innovative revolving loan fund for female entrepreneurs in Kenya

Standard Chartered Foundation is supporting Youth Business International and its member Somo with a US$490,000 grant to pilot a unique financial product and set of business services for underserved female entrepreneurs in Kenya.

Programme Overview

This unique programme will support low-income entrepreneurs aged 18-35 from marginalised communities in Kenya, providing access to financial support needed to sustain and grow their businesses. It will target 90% female entrepreneurs and 10% entrepreneurs with a majority female workforce. Special emphasis will be placed on providing services that acknowledge and are designed specifically to address the time constraints of women while they balance supporting their family and providing for their family.

The revolving fund will provide loans between US$1,000-US$25,000 and a 5% interest per annum. Repaid capital will be released in subsequent rounds as a revolving fund, which will then be reused to support additional entrepreneurs. This model will allow entrepreneurs previously excluded from the financial landscape to access capital and grow their businesses into commercially viable and investable models, whilst replenishing the loan fund through repayments for investment in further businesses. Within the first 12 months 53 loans will be dispersed to a value of US$250,000, and the programme expects 80 loans to have been released and repaid by March 2026. 

Alongside the revolving fund, entrepreneurs will receive 12 months of supported business activities to accelerate them on their journey, including: 

  • Acceleration Programme services, first-hand business coaching from the Somo team in financial management, legalisation and standardisation, branding, marketing, access to markets, and decent work 
  • Advisory services including virtual coaching and advisory support from Somo's volunteer business advisory network 
  • Training on use of digital reporting tools using Somo’s innovative USSD- and WhatsApp-based reporting system DigiKua 
  • Profile setup on Somo Invest, an online platform that tracks business performance and manages the loan portfolio 

These additional support services will open the door to more traditional financial support services in the future, through improving entrepreneurs’ financial record-keeping, building up positive credit history, and providing a platform for potential investment. 

Local Standard Chartered employees will also offer their time voluntarily in this programme, acting as mentors, participating in coaching services and providing advice through webinars. 

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