International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, announced today a long-term local currency loan of 100 million Georgian lari (about $35 million) to Bank of Georgia to help boost access to finance for smaller businesses and women entrepreneurs. The investment is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, a pioneering global initiative by IFC and the Goldman Sachs Foundation to expand access to capital for women entrepreneurs.
Access to finance is the second most-cited problem for businesses in Georgia, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2017-2018. While small and medium enterprises (SMEs) make up the majority of Georgian businesses, they receive only about 20 percent of bank lending. IFC estimates the total finance gap for SMEs in Georgia at $2.1 billion, with demand from women-owned enterprises accounting for 43 percent of the gap, according to the 2017 MSME Finance Gap Report. IFC’s investment aims to address this by helping Bank of Georgia expand its crucial local currency lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), with a quarter of the loan earmarked for women-owned businesses.