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MIF and Banco Pichincha join efforts to better serve women entrepreneurs in Ecuador

Oct 10, 2013

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, recently approved a US$ 1 million project that seeks to increase access to finance for small businesses that are owned or led by women in Ecuador. Specifically, the project will support Banco Pichincha in Ecuador in boosting its capacity to serve this business segment through the improvement of its risk analysis tools and the development of specialized products and services for women.

According to the World Bank Enterprise Survey, only 28.5 percent of small businesses in Ecuador are owned by women. Additionally, only 15 percent of small business loans are granted to enterprises headed by women. The gap in access to finance for women and men can be reduced by expanding access to specialized financial products for this segment of the population.

This project is the continuation of a partnership initiated by the MIF with Banco Pichincha in 2008 through the project “Nonreimbursable technical-cooperation funding to expand financial services for small enterprises through Banco Pichincha” (EC-M1047). The 2008 project allowed Banco Pichincha to expand its portfolio in order to reach 32, 465 small business customers, exceeding the goals originally planned for the project.  After this success, however, an imbalance was detected in terms of access to credit on the part of small businesses headed by women and men, which this project intends to correct. 

The project is conducted within the framework of women entrepreneurshipBanking (weB) , a joint initiative between beyondBanking program of the Department of  Structured and Corporate Finance (SCF) of the IDB and the MIF’s Line of Activity for Promoting Small Enterprise Financing (LAPE). weB provides incentives to banks and other financial institutions in the Latin American and Caribbean region to support them in testing innovative, inclusive lending models that support growth in women’s businesses.

Additionally, this project will coordinate with another MIF project with the Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL), since Banco Pichincha will implement a risk analysis model using psychometric parameters developed by the EFL as a supplementary risk analysis methodology to enable the bank to help enterprises that do not presently meet its current minimum requirements to qualify as borrowers.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them the tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models. More information at

About Banco Pichincha

Banco Pichincha was legally established in 1906 and is supervised by the Superintendency of Banks and Insurance of Ecuador. Its mission is to be a leader that contributes to the development of Ecuador by supporting the financial needs of people, their institutions, and their enterprises. With a network of 307 branches, Banco Pichincha has the largest presence of any bank in the country.

About women entrepreneurshipBanking (weB) 

Launched in April 2012 during the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia, weB is a joint effort between the IDB’s Structured and Corporate Finance Department’s (SCF) beyondBanking Program and the Multilateral Investment Fund’s (MIF) Line of Activity for Promoting Small Enterprise Financing (LAPE). The initiative provides two kinds of incentives: technical assistance grants for training programs and knowledge transfer; and financial products, such as risk-sharing facilities and partial-credit guarantees, to banks and other financial intermediaries to support them in developing and testing innovative, inclusive lending models that target women-owned small and medium enterprises.

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