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The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO) Made possible through funding form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Why Small Business Owners Have Such a Hard Time Getting Loans



Securing a good loan is challenging for many entrepreneurs, particularly women.

According to the World Bank, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) comprise about 90 percent of the global economy. But these kinds of businesses—too big for microfinance and too small for commercial bank loans with favorable rates—face many hurdles to borrowing money. On today’s episode of the Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women, we delve deeper into the “missing middle” credit gap and what can be done to improve SMEs’ access to financing. Also, we look at specific barriers to women business owners, such as how low property ownership rates hinder their ability to qualify for small business loans.

Host Reena Ninan talks to Ada Osakwe, founder of Nuli Juice, about the various obstacles she overcame to expand her business, including her first store almost getting destroyed in Lagos, Nigeria. Then, World Bank financial inclusion expert Mahesh Uttamchandani shares the financial solutions he is most excited about for SMEs.

Special thanks this week to the International Finance Corporation’s Jessica Schnabel, who recommended we talk to Osakwe, and Mary Ellen Iskenderian from Women’s World Banking. The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women is a Foreign Policy podcast made possible through funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO):  Could empowering women in the workplace be the simplest way to boost the global economy moving? Host Reena Ninan talks to women around the world changing the status quo in surprising ways to improve their lives, their families, and ultimately, the world. The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HER♀) is a Foreign Policy podcast supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. HER listeners can learn more about these topics by signing up for special access to an FP Analytics policy brief on gender equality. Sign up by clicking here.  See All Episodes


More The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO) episodes:

How Better Data Helped End Child Marriage in Indonesia

A nonprofit’s grassroots data collection successfully pushed for a child marriage ban in Indonesia, a significant step to reduce female poverty.

What Works in Microfinance

We explore why some microfinance practices work really well while others fall short.

The Battle for Women’s Property Rights in Kenya

What a daughter’s inheritance fight reveals about Kenya’s constitutional reforms, which aimed to provide equal land access between men and women.

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