In the Eastern and Southern Caribbean women have not historically been the target users of financial products and business support services. There is a need for innovative approaches to support access to finance and business support for women entrepreneurs.
The USAID INVEST project is working to support private sector engagement in the region and is partnered with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to design a Roadmap of opportunities to enable business growth and attract investment.
Making Cents is conducting a two-phase approach to support development and piloting of inclusive lending products in St. Lucia. Making Cents is utilizing a 5 “D” women-centered design process to develop inclusive lending products and appropriate support and advisory services that will enable business growth for women-led enterprises. The process will bring together women-led enterprises seeking finance, financial institutions, and business support organizations equally through product definition and piloting to ensure that solutions meet both the operational needs of the financial institution as well as the investment features demanded by women entrepreneurs. Phase 1 involved an assessment and selection of financial institutions, business support organizations, and women-led businesses to understand their needs, abilities, and limitations. Phase 2 will involve the design and the launch of an inclusive lending product and business support services for the selected women-led enterprises.