Home Business Unpacking Financial Literacy Initiatives for Women And Youth Owned Businesses Through Young Africa Works

Unpacking Financial Literacy Initiatives for Women And Youth Owned Businesses Through Young Africa Works

by Femme Staff

Imagine being able to concentrate on running your business without having to worry about the three hinderances that plague most entrepreneurs. Capital, operating costs and financial literacy. For the longest time, these have only been readily available to a few entrepreneurs, leaving thousands with flailing and collapsing businesses and nowhere to turn to. Women and youth are especially weighed down by these challenges due to systematic barriers and investor biases informed by traditional norms.

But this ship is turning. It is a slow but sure process, and results are becoming increasingly visible as more and more youth and women grow their businesses and contribute to the economy of the country. This is largely due to intervention from governments, financial institutions, and local and global organizations. This is not to say that we are there yet. A lot more intervention and support is required to explore the full potential of our youth and thankfully, it is still available from many quarters.

For instance, starting 2019, Equity Bank joined hands with Mastercard Foundation and the Government of Kenya to spearhead the Young Africa Works Program – a youth empowerment program that aims to support five million young Africans to have dignified and fulfilling work over the next five years. This is one among many other programs that all drive towards Equity Bank’s mission to leave no one behind in the journey towards financial success.

Young Africa Works operates around the pillars of digital skills, business development, life skills and access to markets among others. With the backing of Equity Bank’s massive resources and empowerment policies, beneficiaries have access to affordable credit options, business loans, and savings accounts that encourage a culture of financial responsibility. In what I feel ties all these together, they also have access to financial literacy knowledge which enables them to better manage their personal and business finances for assured growth.

So far, beneficiaries of the program have created over 1.2 million jobs and economic opportunities to date and the number is expected to grow to 2 million jobs by the end of the first phase of the initiative in 2024.  Over 80% of these jobs and opportunities are held by youth.

Financial literacy is not just about understanding how to make and spend money. It is a powerful tool that helps entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of business and ensure economic success. For women and youth to make the best of their money, they must have sufficient knowledge on things like bookkeeping, inventory management, budgeting and sourcing and utilizing loans for the success of the business.

The impact of initiatives such as Young Africa Works is evident in the many success stories among women and the youth. Take the case of Ing’airu Leila for instance, a Mombasa based baker who started her business in 2016.  As a perfectionist, Leila has always given her business her best, making sure she always has fresh well decorated cakes. But along the way she needed some nudge and Equity Bank’s Young Africa Works came through for her not only in terms of financial empowerment, but also training on financial literacy, business expansion and diversification.

Leila attended all the trainings faithfully and now she has a flourishing business to show for it. To anyone getting into business, she advises to be patient and to move step by step because success is gradual.

At all stages of a young entrepreneur’s endeavors, Equity is an able and willing partner to assist in growth and profits, thereby playing a part in the success of women and youth in business.

Nothing tackles poverty better than enterprise.

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