© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: HSBC logo is seen on a branch bank in the financial district in New York, U.S., August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings (NYSE:) said on Thursday it was launching a $1 billion lending fund to invest in female-owned businesses over the next 12 months.
The fund appears to be the largest of its type established anywhere, although HSBC did not comment on that issue.
“The level of funding received over time by female-led businesses is significantly lower than male counterparts, while the recent impacts of the pandemic have seen these same businesses disproportionately affected,” Sam Cooper-Gray, global head of market strategy at HSBC Business Banking, said in a statement.
“Female-owned businesses are also less likely to have global networks, meaning international expansion can prove particularly challenging,” she said.
HSBC said access to funding remained one of the biggest hurdles for female business leaders worldwide. Female-owned businesses had received just 3% of start-up funding in 2019, HSBC said.
HSBC’s Female Entrepreneur Fund will be open to both new and existing customers across 11 markets, with nearly half of them in Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia. Other markets include the United States, Britain and Uruguay.