F88 boosts gender equality with support from Australian Development Investments

Tuesday, Dec 26, 2023 11:35

Transactions at F88. ADI has approved A$43,000 (VNĐ693 million) for the Việt Nam-based lender to design and test loan products that are suitable for female customers. — Photo courtesy of F88

F88 Business Joint Stock Company (F88) has been selected as one of the investee companies of Lendable to receive Technical Assistance (TA) from Australian Development Investments (ADI), formerly EMIIF.

The TA aims to facilitate various initiatives of F88 to enhance gender equity and inclusion within the company, resulting in improved women’s representation in leadership roles, gender responsive products and services, and strong business performance.

This marks the inaugural collaboration between F88 and international partners to implement initiatives aimed at benefiting both employees and customers, including entrepreneurs. In order to bolster these endeavors, ADI has approved A$43,000 (VNĐ693 million) for the Việt Nam-based lender to design and test loan products that are suitable for female customers; and to undergo company-wide gender equality in business training and update policies to enable women employees to rise into middle and senior management. Through the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)’s application of Gender Equality Mainstreaming Framework, F88 was able to identify areas for improvement and propose a TA plan to ADI.

F88 will pilot a new loan product for female entrepreneurs in early 2024. These loans are designed for women in Việt Nam ages 20 to 55 who own small businesses like shops, cafes, and retail stores. Eligible borrowers must have a stable business location and an aspiration to expand their business. The loan has a repayment period of up to 18 months and attractive low-interest rates. For F88, the objective of this new loan product goes beyond profit; it aims to offer a financial solution that enables women to make financial decisions for their small enterprises and improve their management and leadership skills. Women borrowers can also build their self-confidence and esteem, and assets towards financial independence.

“The Australian Government is proud to deploy technical assistance through Australian Development Investments to support a Lendable portfolio company create pathways for women entrepreneurs to access finance. Developing products that suit women business owners is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing. I look forward to seeing how F88 and other lenders expand their client base by tailoring products for the thousands of women-owned businesses in Việt Nam,” said Majdie Hordern, First Secretary Development Cooperation, Australian Embassy in Hà Nội.

“In the last 5 years, since attracting investments from international funds, F88 has prioritised promoting gender equality. F88's female customer base is now at 30 per cent, experiencing a notable 234 per cent growth in 2022 compared to the previous year. Being a partner of Lendable and ADI for gender equality initiatives is a major achievement for F88,” said Phùng Anh Tuấn, CEO of F88. — VNS

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