Bailyk Finance, a partner of Alterfin for more than five years, is a perfect example of woman-led company. Spearheaded by Chinara Moldazhanova since 2013, this microfinance institution’s ultimate goal is to improve the lives of low-income populations in Kyrgyzstan. Chinara shares her views on how a predominantly female workforce ties in with the company’s pursuit of societal goals.
At the very beginning of my career, 27 years ago, Mercy Corps made me aware of the need to develop programs to help women overcome the obstacles in the entrepreneurial world. As the CEO of Bailyk Finance since 2013, I’ve continued my efforts to provide multidimensional support for women, whether that is within the company, the beneficiaries we serve or in society.
In my experience, women and men see the same issues differently. This results in different views on how to develop and grow a company. For example, women on the board of directors always consider the social aspect and try to improve communication between members, which leads to better decision-making.
I wouldn’t say that it was intentional. I see it as the logical result of the positive impact of having women on the board of directors (editor’s note: two out of three board members, two out of four senior managers and 61% of employees are women). We can say that managers have worked tacitly to increase female representation.
I believe that increasing employment opportunities for women, thereby improving their economic status, is closely linked to improving people’s living standards both in rural and urban areas. But women’s potential is often limited by financial problems, a lack of financial knowledge, experience and skills, difficulties in accessing appropriate apprenticeships and training, or simply a lack of family support.
That’s why Bailyk Finance focuses primarily on women: they account for 58% of our loan portfolio. Our institution takes a holistic approach, encompassing everything from capacity building to financial training for women.
I’ve seen women grow more confident with each successful loan repayment, responding to business challenges more readily and taking an active role in family decision-making.
I want to build on this by putting environmental and societal performance at the heart of our operations, and a key aspect of this is providing support for women. I aspire to see a high level of education for women, more female entrepreneurship and female participation in the public-private dialogue, and more public-private programs to train and support female entrepreneurs.
A successful woman exudes self-confidence and belief in her own strength and isn’t afraid of the future.