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On the eve of International Women’s Day, focusing on women entrepreneurs in Peru

Mar 7, 2014

Lima, March 7, 2014- On the eve of International Women's Day, a conference on “Women Entrepreneurs: Inclusion and the Future,” was held today in Lima. The event focused on the economic empowerment of women in Peru, sharing lessons learned from entrepreneurship training projects and discussing how to create new and better opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the future.

Speakers at the conference, co-organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, and Mibanco, included Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in her role as the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development; Peru’s First Lady, Nadine Heredia; and the General Manager of the MIF, Nancy Lee.

“In my work as a United Nations Special Advocate, I have observed that countries that make strong investments in financial inclusion, both in policy and in the private sector, are those that experience the greatest progress,” said Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands.

“Investing in women is, without a doubt, a worthwhile investment, especially if it includes development of their skills, their empowerment, and their participation as both agents of change and in the decisions that will transform their lives,” said Heredia.

“Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, a perfect time to celebrate the achievements of women entrepreneurs in Peru and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, but also to address their challenges,” said Lee.  “If we can help women entrepreneurs in starting and growing businesses, it will be a triple win: for women and their families, for the banks that serve them, and for the economy.”

At the event, speakers shared experiences from the program “Strengthening Women’s Entrepreneurship in Peru,” which was supported by the MIF, Mibanco, the Government of Australia, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and the Thunderbird School of Global Management.  This initiative consisted of two projects: “Proyecto Salta,” in which 100,000 female microentrepreneurs received training on basic aspects of management; and an intensive certification program for women-owned small businesses, part of the Goldman Sachs global initiative "10,000 Women."

Among the lessons learned from the Salta program were that the training increased both motivation and business productivity for women who participated, but did not necessarily lead to growth in their businesses. Meanwhile, the intensive certification program helped the entrepreneurs better use technology in their businesses and increased both salaries and sales, according to participants.

Lee said that the MIF is already applying these lessons to its projects in women’s economic empowerment, which include programs that incorporate both training and financing, savings products, venture capital investment, and closing knowledge gaps in issues related to women’s entrepreneurship.
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