Latin America has one of the highest rates of female entrepreneurship in the world. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor by the World Bank (2021), women in the region have created or are leading half of the more than 17 million small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Woman Post | Ayda María Martínez Ipuz
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A new generation of Latin American women continues to seek new opportunities for their ventures, and their numbers grow each year, especially in countries like Brazil.
The Step-by-Step Process
According to the World Bank, five elements are required for women entrepreneurs to grow:
Community: Networks of contacts, family, friends, and community institutions play a crucial role in business decisions. The existence of mentoring and support programs can also make a significant difference in the performance of new companies.
Institutional Support: Micro and small businesses led by women tend to be informal, home-based, and small-scale within traditional sectors, primarily retail and services. Around 75% operate in the consumer sector. According to the World Bank, it is important to consider other more profitable business areas.
Participation in Science and Technology: Companies like Ada IT seek to empower thousands of young people in Latin America through technology by providing technical training programs in programming, as well as soft skills and foreign language training.
International Connections: Latin American ventures can improve their export focus and acquire customers from other countries. The level of international sales for women-led ventures in Brazil, Guatemala, and Ecuador is nearly 0%, according to GEM studies. The use of new digital tools is key to development in this area.
Financing: "Many women own small and medium-sized enterprises in developing countries, but over 70% do not have access to financial institutions or do not receive adequate financial services to meet their needs," says Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Senior Director of the Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Practice at the World Bank. As a result, women have a lower likelihood of obtaining formal financing, leading them to become the primary users of microcredit. Initiatives such as the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) provide access to financing, markets, technology, and networks needed to start and grow a business.
Success of Startups Mexico and Colombia lead the reception of investments for these types of ventures, where women are starting to gain space. In the case of Colombia, it is estimated that startups employ over 40,000 people.
To scale technology-based ventures, women can reach out to the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), which recently announced its interest in connecting with entrepreneurs, investors, and government institutions in Colombia to support startups in scaling their businesses to the United States.
CIC aims to be the bridge between Miami and the main cities that stand out as innovation hubs in Latin America, with programs that support entrepreneurs in the region to internationalize their businesses in the United States.
Miami is the starting point in the US, with plans to expand to cities like New York, Boston, or San Francisco. "Our goal is to support local talent to do business in the US market so they can strengthen their home country, generate new jobs, and increase income," said Alejandra Winter, Director of Soft Landing at CIC.