Kenya is working on a comprehensive strategy to boost recovery of women-led businesses that have suffered disruptions linked to COVID-19 pandemic, officials said on Tuesday.

Margaret Kobia, cabinet secretary for youth and gender affairs, said the government has developed an inventory of female-owned enterprises that have suffered due to the pandemic, to facilitate their bailout.

“The women-led businesses have suffered from negative impacts of COVID-19 and the government is working on a bailout strategy with financial institutions to restore them to profitability,” said Kobia.

She spoke during the launch of a mobile-based application supported by multinational companies to help African female entrepreneurs digitize their operations beyond the COVID-19 era.

Kobia said that Kenya’s budding female entrepreneurs will benefit from HerVenture App amid the quest to expand market linkages while exploring alternative sources of capital.

“Access to technology will enable women to grow their businesses in the post-pandemic period. The mobile application will enable women entrepreneurs to work from home while taking care of their families,” said Kobia.

She said that women-led businesses will benefit from a stimulus package launched by the government in April to bailout local start-ups affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The government has set aside a rescue package for small and medium-sized businesses owned by women to help them withstand COVID 19 shocks. We are ready to provide interest-free loans to these businesses,” said Kobia.

She said the government will support female entrepreneurs to leverage on technology, skills and networks and harness opportunities in the global supply chains.

Kobia said that COVID-19 has opened new business ventures for women in diverse areas like value addition, manufacturing of sanitizers and stitching of face coverings.

“The pandemic has brought to light the resilience and tenacity of female entrepreneurs. They are now thriving in the cottage industry through tailoring of masks,” said Kobia.

She said that access to capital, mentorship, financial literacy and enhanced market linkage is key to the growth of female-led businesses.

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