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Institutions from Bolivia, Brazil and Mexico Win Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation

Sep 18, 2013

Bolivian microfinance institution Crecer, the green technology company Inventive Power from Mexico, and Brazilian private equity firm Stratus Group have won this year’s Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation for their outstanding work in the areas of financial inclusion, green business and high impact investments in Latin America and the Caribbean, respectively.

The winners will be honored on September 30, during the inauguration of the 2013 Foromic, the Latin American and Caribbean region’s leading event for supporting and financing microenterprises, SMEs, and small farmers. Foromic will take place in Guadalajara, Mexico, from September 30 to October 2. Foromic is organized annually by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno are scheduled to attend the event’s inauguration and will participate in the presentation of the awards to the winners.

The 2013 Financial Inclusion Award, recognizing an innovative and efficient financial institution that provides financial services to poor and low-income populations. The winning institution was Crecer, a Bolivian non-profit that caters primarily to poor women living in rural communities. Created in 1990, it has grown to become one of the microfinance institutions with greatest reach in the region, with village banking products, individual credit, and recently, agricultural credit, complemented by education services. It stands out for its continuous research efforts to measure the effect of their services to their clients.

Honorary mentions were granted to Pichincha Microfinance of Banco del Pichincha in Ecuador and Banco Estado Microempresa S.A. in Chile for their well-developed programs to provide financial products and services to poor and low-income populations.

Inventive Power, a dynamic green technology company from Mexico, won the first ever Green Business Award. Inventive Power has developed innovative solar energy solutions, such as solar technology that generates thermal energy in the form of hot water and steam for SME-scaled industrial and commercial applications. Inventive Power provides solutions for businesses in manufacturing, installation and maintenance, and, via a third party partner, even in financing of its technologies. 

The 2013 High Impact Fund Manager Award recognizes the private equity firm Stratus Group from Brazil. Founded in 1999, the Stratus Group is a pioneer in the development of a concrete path for SMEs into the Brazilian capital market. It was also the first Brazilian private equity firm to become a signatory of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, and has developed a portfolio of investments with high sustainability impact.

The winners of the Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation will receive prizes funded by the Citi Foundation, one of the sponsors of the 2013 Foromic. The Citi Foundation will provide the awards winning institutions with the opportunity to participate in specialized leadership training workshops to further improve their operations, as well as cash prizes for the Local and Green Business awardees.

Excellence and Sustainability of Mexican Microenterprise

The local award for excellence and sustainability in Mexican microenterprise recognizes the important role microentrepreneurs play, not only in supporting their own families, but also in contributing to the economic sustainability of their communities. This year’s award will recognize NOXTLI, a growing cooperative that has been working in farming and agriculture, promoting a philosophy of self-sustainability and generating jobs, mainly for migrants to the United States. Finalists included the businesses Café y Avena Nancy and Labradores de Cantera Degollado, Jal. S.C. de R.L. de C.V. The award is sponsored by the Citi Foundation.

Foromic and the Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation are organized by the IDB Group’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the largest provider of technical assistance for private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean.


AWARDS

FINANCIAL INCLUSION

WINNER: Crecer, Crédito con Educación Rural
COUNTRY: Bolivia

CRECER has been operating in microfinance since 1990. It has grown to become one of the largest village banking institutions in the region and serves poor, primarily rural, female clients. CRECER’s flagship product is Credit with Education, a group-based microloan that includes financial  education provided by a loan officer in clients’ communities. CRECER also offers individual and agricultural loans, insurance and money transfers, and is transforming itself into a regulated institution to collect savings.

Crecer has an intensive client research and development strategy: (1) large surveys every two years; (2) yearly client monitoring surveys; and (3) impact assessments every three years. In addition, social performance indicators have been fully integrated into an automated information system for continuous results tracking. This NGO is the pioneer among non-regulated institution in loan securitizations. Its last round ($25 million), fourth in a row, was successfully transacted in the Bolivian Stock Exchange in an hour.

Crecer is focused on fighting women’s cancer (especially uterine cancer) through promoting testing among its clients. Last year, 15% of its clients were tested, vis-à-vis a national average of 10%.

HONORARY MENTION

Granted for their work and well-developed methodologies in Financial Inclusion.

INSTITUTION: Pichincha Microfinanzas, Banco del Pichincha
COUNTRY: Ecuador

INSTITUTION: BancoEstado Microempresa S.A.
COUNTRY: Chile

 

GREEN BUSINESS

WINNER: Inventive Power
COUNTRY: Mexico

In 2010, a team of dynamic young Mexican entrepreneurs set up ‘Inventive Power’ – a company that has developed innovative solar energy solutions, including the Power Trough 110®, a parabolic concentrating solar technology that generates thermal energy in the form of hot water and steam for SME-scaled industrial and commercial applications. Inventive Power serves various parts of the value chain, including manufacturing, installation, maintenance and, via a third party partner, even financing of its technology. The company has experienced triple digit growth rates in terms of sales and clients and its organic growth will finance its commercial infrastructure expansion, thereby strengthening the company's asset base for a continued future growth into new markets. A typical client example includes a small- to medium-scale food processing industrial plant, hotel or hospital that takes advantage of the technology’s energy and cost savings of up to 80% on fossil fuels, thereby resulting also in significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The product measures 3 meters in width and 1.4 meters in height and is completely modular.

Inventive Power has been a finalist in various awards in the region and is now the proud winner of the first edition of the ‘Best Green Business Award’.

FINALIST:

INSTITUTION: Acciona Microenergía
COUNTRY: Peru

 

HIGH IMPACT FUND MANAGER

WINNER: Stratus Group
COUNTRY: Brazil

Founded in 1999, the Stratus Group is a Brazilian private equity firm focused on investments in the mid-market. Stratus specializes in investment situations that are related to growth, sector consolidation and shareholder successions, primarily for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Stratus has a process-driven approach to mid-market investing, which is also applied to the assessment of ESG parameters of all portfolio companies. It was the first Brazilian private equity firm to become a signatory of the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Investments in 2008. It has also developed a separate portfolio of investments with ‘high sustainability impact.’

Stratus is also a pioneer in the development of a concrete path for SMEs into the Brazilian capital markets. In 2013, the firm led one its portfolio companies to successfully execute the first PE-backed IPO in the BMF&BOVESPA’s middle-market segment, named BOVESPA MAIS.

Partners of Stratus have been active in the VC/PE Associations in Brazil (ABVCAP) and Latin America (LAVCA). They also represent SME investment activity with their participation in BOVESPA’s listing committee, as well as in other institutional think tanks in Brazil and abroad.

 

EXCELLENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY OF MEXICAN MICROENTERPRISES

WINNER: NOXTLI, S.C. DE R.L., El Pueblito, Zacatecas

NOXTLI is a cooperative that has been working in farming and agriculture for seven years, promoting a philosophy of self-sustainability and generating jobs, mainly for migrants to the United States. Currently, there are five women and fifteen men permanently involved in the project.

NOXTLI’s business model is self-sustaining at all stages of the production cycle. Its main activities are the cultivation of grains (corn and beans), which instead of being sold at very cheap prices in the market are used to feed pigs, which are then sold for meat, earning a greater profit.

Organic waste from livestock is reused in compost and organic fertilizers.

NOXTLI is a constantly growing company. NOXTLI started with an initial capital of MXN$250,000.00 and now has a capital of MX$1,200,000.

FINALISTS:

1) Café y Avena Nancy
2) Labradores de Cantera Degollado, Jal. S.C. de R.L. de C.V

 

ABOUT THE MULTILATERAL INVESTMENT FUND

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, supports economic growth and poverty reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean through encouraging increased private investment and advancing private sector development. It works with the private sector to develop, finance, and execute innovative business models that benefit entrepreneurs and poor and low-income households; partners with a wide variety of institutions from the private, public and nonprofit sectors; evaluates results; and shares lessons learned. Once a year, the MIF organizes the Foromic, the leading forum for financing microenterprises, SMEs, and small farmers in Latin America and the Caribbean. This year´s 16th edition will take place in Guadalajara, 30 September-2 October.

ABOUT CITI FOUNDATION

The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving on its priority focus areas: Microfinance and Microenterprise, Small and Growing Businesses, Education, and Financial Education and Asset Building. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance and Microenterprise and Small and Growing Businesses to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at www.citifoundation.com.

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