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Stronger together: cooperative bank gives boost to women entrepreneurs in Cyprus and wins European Award 2012

November 2012

Artemis Toumazi, CEO of Cyprus Women’s Coop Bank Ltd © European Union, 2012  

Since the Cyprus Women’s Coop Bank Ltd was launched ten years ago, the percentage of female entrepreneurs has increased from around 12 % to almost 30 %.  It has also just won the 2012 European Enterprise Promotion Award for ‘Promoting the Entrepreneurial spirit’.

The bank was set up in Larnaca by 350 women to help other women throughout the country start and develop their businesses. Headed by female entrepreneurship ambassador Artemis Tourmazi, it specialises in small loans of up to €100 000 to small and medium-sized businesses with flexible repayment plans, grace periods of up to two years, interest rates of around 4 % and the possibility of accessing funds within 48 hours.

It also provides advice and gives clients access to the bank’s professional network. Anna Karyda, who runs a car maintenance business at Larnaca airport, received a €60 000 loan from the bank for the expansion of the company. She describes the key role the bank played in this context: “They gave us very good information about banking with them, and getting financing on good terms from other institutes. That was very important for us.”

It is linked with the European Network of Female Entrepreneurship, which encourages women in 22 EU countries to set up their own businesses and provides advice on how to do so successfully.

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