Leveraging SME Capabilities to Serve Women – Turkish bank case study

In 2014 Türk Ekonomi Bankası A.Ş.(TEB) has discovered that women entrepreneurship in Turkey is a popular, but underrated phenomenon, which is not sufficiently exploited by the banking sector. According to World Bank, 40% of Turkish SME’s are owned by women and only 40% were obtaining bank financing. This hidden potential was noticed by TEB and immediately implemented into a new bank strategy which targeted women-owned SMEs. 

With the help of Global Banking Alliance for Women experts, the bank has prepared holistic customer value proposition (CVP) for women, which was launched as TEB Women Banking Program. It is based on four pillars, which meet financial and non-financial business needs of women owners: access to finance, access to information, access to markets, access to mentorship and couching. 

In order to increase the access to finance, TEB in cooperation with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, launched a loan for start-ups owned by women, which does not require any collateral. Moreover, because gold is a very popular investment among Turkish women, TEB accepts it as collateral in other forms of credit.

In order to satisfy the non-financial needs of women-owned SME’s, many additional services have been launched, i.e. TEB Women Academy, where women can improve their management skills, SME TV Women and free one-on-one business advisory. Providing their women-oriented services, TEB cooperates also with other institutions from Turkish business ecosystem (i.e. the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, WEConnect International, ActionCoach). 

In 2016, the program was prized with BAI Global Banking Innovation Award in “Innovation in Societal and Community Impact” category.

Summary by Beata Lewicka







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