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WeXchange Miami forum will connect and propel women entrepreneurs with $40,000 from Knight Foundation

Nov 20, 2014

WeXchange, the two-day forum designed to advance the work of high-impact women entrepreneurs from Miami, Latin America and the Caribbean is back for its second year. Organized and led by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank, with $40,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the forum will be held from Dec. 11-12 at Miami Dade College.

Investors and women entrepreneurs who focus on Latin America or the Caribbean are encouraged to apply to attend WeXchange 2014. The event aims to empower women entrepreneurs, promote them as role models and help them connect to expand their networks and build impact. It will feature networking opportunities with investors, coaching sessions, workshops and a pitch competition, in which six preselected finalists present their business ideas to a jury of international experts.

“A successful innovation ecosystem is one that represents the diversity of the community it serves,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “By helping to propel the work of women entrepreneurs in Miami, WeXchange is providing some of the main assets they need to scale and grow: strong networks, access to investors, as well as mentorship and support opportunities.”

“Our research and experience show that women in Latin America and the Caribbean are highly motivated to start businesses and can be just as successful as their male counterparts, but face many barriers related to limited access to finance and weaker networks,” said Susana Garcia-Robles, principal investment officer of the Multilateral Investment Fund’s Early Stage Equity Group. “WeXchange is seeking to break down those barriers by building a powerful community for dynamic women entrepreneurs. We are very much looking forward to returning to Miami—the most important city for doing business in and with Latin America and the Caribbean—for the second WeXchange forum.”

Studies conducted by the Multilateral Investment Fund, such as its WEGrow study of high-growth women entrepreneurs, show that women entrepreneurs tend to face more challenges than men in the region, mostly due to the lack of strong networks. For example, women tend to search for advice within their family circles, while men are more likely to seek advice from friends and other network resources, which can limit access to a wide source of capital. Other research reaches similar conclusions, such as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s 2012 Women’s Report, which found that women-owned businesses attract less than 5 percent of venture capital funds worldwide. These differences put women entrepreneurs in Latin America at a disadvantage compared to men considering that the number of women heading companies has been traditionally lower.

Support for WeXchange programs forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and opportunity. Over the past two years Knight has made more than 90 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida. 

Please visit for more information and to register.


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, please visit

About the Multilateral Investment Fund

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 small and medium-sized business models. More information at

WeExchange is powered by Demand Solutions: Ideas for Improving Quality of Life, an IDB program focused on promoting innovation, creativity, and the spirit of entrepreneurship inside and outside organizations as a development tool. Each year, Demand Solutions culminates in an event where the world’s most creative minds meet to discuss and share innovative solutions addressing development challenges. This year it will take place on Dec. 2 at IDB headquarters in Washington, D.C. 


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