SCOTIABANK has launched The Scotiabank Women Initiative (SWI), a programme aimed at advancing women-led and women owned businesses in Jamaica. Acknowledging that female business owners face unique challenges, the bank through SWI is breaking barriers to increase economic opportunity for women to grow and develop professionally.
Jamaica is the second country within Scotiabank's global operations to launch this initiative, following a successful execution in Canada.
In Canada, the SWI has helped over 5,000 programme participants to date to grow their businesses, further develop their business acumen and hone their leadership skills.
The SWI is a three-pronged programme which is comprised of access to capital, business education and business advisory services and mentorship. The fund, valued at $3 billion, will be available immediately with the education and advisory components to be offered later in 2022. The loan fund will give eligible women-led and owned businesses access of up to $100 million at a launch rate of seven per cent along with waivers on applicable fees. In addition, these businesses will receive three months waivers on fees for merchant services and business online banking.
In the coming months, the bank will also launch a series of free education workshops aimed at elevating women's skills, gaining financial management and technical expertise. The final component will feature advisory assistance to further empower and mentor women in business in areas such as governance and commercial board readiness.
Speaking at the launch, Audrey Tugwell Henry, president and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica, shared, “I am proud to be a leader in an organisation that acknowledges the particular challenges that professional women face and is taking deliberate action to address some of them. We truly believe that by helping to elevate women in business, we will also directly impact Jamaica's overall productivity and consequently a number of social issues.”