Women-led businesses tipped on leveraging insurance to grow

New Faces New Voices (NFNV) Kenya, a network organization under the Graça Machel Trust (GMT), has partnered with Kayana to create a client-centric, innovative approach to help women-led businesses develop financial resilience.

NFNV Kenya has taken a significant step towards enhancing the financial and economic resilience of women-led businesses using insurance products for risk mitigation which enables the small businesses to survive business shocks and therefore give them a solid platform to grow.

NFNV and Kayana convened a pilot group of women-led businesses to raise their awareness about the risks their businesses face and how to mitigate those risks. The focus group reached the conclusion that insurance is not only a viable solution but one that is undervalued.

Wangeci Gitata-Kiriga, New Faces New Voices (NFNV) Vice Chair takes participants through a session during a women entrepreneur’s event focused on building business resilience through Insurance program, held at the Nairobi Garage, Pinetree Plaza.

Insurance can build business resilience among female entrepreneurs when structured with the business at the centre of the product design.

NFNV Chairperson, Caroline Armstrong-Ogwapit said that NFNV recognizes the need to ensure that micro and small businesses, especially those that are women- led, are exposed to multiple risks that intertwine the individuals and the business.

Insurance plays an important role in safeguarding these businesses against unforeseen events and NFNV has embarked on a journey to empower female entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools necessary to leverage insurance for their business continuity and growth. NFNV engaged multiple insurance companies in the long programme to ensure that the entrepreneurs’ needs are at the centre of the solution design.

Left to right: Wangeci Gitata-Kiriga, (New Faces New Voices Vice Chair), Brian Juma (Liberty Life & Heritage Insurance, Head of Research & Business Excellence) and Caroline Armstrong (Chairperson, New Faces New Voices) delve into the insights from a report highlighting the need for innovative insurance products tailored to women in MSMEs at Nairobi Garage, Pinetree Plaza.

The unique approach taken by NFNV and Kayana was received positively by the entrepreneurs and insurers marking the dawn of a new era characterized by co-creation of financial solutions.

Women entrepreneurs, she said, are an increasingly important pillar for economic stability, and it is crucial to sustainably address the challenges they face, especially in the current economic environment.

“Women-owned small businesses are helping to power Kenya’s small business boom and New Faces New Voices remains committed to ensuring women access the capital, resources and skills they need to build resilient businesses and create jobs to fuel our economy.

“To improve women entrepreneurs’ access to appropriate insurance solutions, we have engaged the financial sector to take a non-traditional insurance approach and develop cost-effective and protective coverage solutions against new and evolving risks and delivering them in a way that speaks to the entrepreneurs’ needs and aspirations,” Armstrong- Ogwapit said.

Left to right: Caroline Armstrong (Chairperson, New Faces New Voices) presents a gift to Mercy Kabangi (Liberty Life & Heritage Insurance, General Manager Marketing & Communications) during a women entrepreneur’s event focused on building business resilience through Insurance program, held at the Nairobi Garage, Pinetree Plaza.

According to a 2022 study by Viffa Consult titled “Doing Business in Kenya: Reflection of Women SMEs,” only 26% of women-led SMEs in Kenya have insurance coverage with only a minority of that having any business-related insurance.

Innovative insurance solutions responding to the specific needs of women-owned enterprises can play a significant role in building their resilience and ensuring sustainable growth and enable them to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the ever-changing business landscape with greater confidence and resilience.

“The ultimate objective of this collaborative initiative was to facilitate the co-creation of a gender- responsive insurance product specifically designed to address the unique needs of female entrepreneurs in Kenya,” Kayana co-founder Patricia Okelo said.

A segment of women in business actively participate in a focus group discussion during a women entrepreneur’s event focused on building business resilience through Insurance program, held at the Nairobi Garage, Pinetree Plaza.

The session brought together key representatives from insurance companies, including Britam, Prudential, Liberty, and Madison Insurance, alongside KCB Bank’s Innovations team to share their expertise in crafting and adapting financial products. These industry leaders engaged with the entrepreneurs, listened to their insurance needs, and presented tailored solutions from their respective portfolios enabling the entrepreneurs to not only better understand risk assessment and mitigation but also select best-fit.

Insurance is a critical tool for businesses of all sizes, but it is especially important for female MSMEs and SMEs, who are often more vulnerable to economic shocks and business disruptions.

“By providing access to information and resources on risk management and insurance, we can help female business owners protect their businesses and create multigenerational enterprises,” NFNV Vice Chair Wangeci Gitata-Kiriga said.

NFNV’s commitment to empowering women-led businesses extends beyond insurance solutions. The organization provides a comprehensive suite of support services, including access to finance, capacity building, and networking opportunities, fostering an environment where women entrepreneurs can survive, thrive and contribute to Kenya’s economic prosperity.

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