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Latin-American women entrepreneurs meet their investor match at regional forum

Dec 15, 2014

Dozens of high-growth women entrepreneurs from across the Latin America and the Caribbean region pitched their companies to investors during a two-day forum that included “speed dating”-like sessions and a pitch competition to fund innovative businesses.

The second annual WeXchange Forum, which gathered more than 150 people, took place in Miami, Florida on December 11th and 12th. It is co-sponsored by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, and NXTPLabs, which provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs from Latin America and the Caribbean to meet mentors and investors. WeXchange is powered by the IDB’s Demand Solutions program.

The event included a pitch competition organized by NXTPLabs in which six women founders of high-tech firms presented their companies and answered questions from a panel of judges. The winner of the pitch competition was Carolina Medina of Colombia, a co-founder of SokoText, a social business that uses text messaging systems to help small-scale food vendors that serve poor neighborhoods access more affordable and better-quality produce. 

Other highlights of the event included “speed dating” sessions at which entrepreneurs had the chance to practice pitching their companies to real investors; mentoring sessions at which established entrepreneurs and other experts offered one-on-one advice; and a series of speakers such as Linda Rottenberg, CEO of Endeavor and author of the best-selling book “Crazy is a Compliment;” Beverley Morgan, head of the Jamaican consulting firm The Competitiveness Company; and Leila Velez, founder of the Brazilian beauty product firm Beleza Natural.

More than 40 women entrepreneurs from across the Latin American and Caribbean region participated in WeXchange, hailing from such countries as Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, and Jamaica.

Said Susana Garcia-Robles, MIF principal investment officer and co-founder of WeXchange, “From years of working to build the early stage equity industry in Latin America and the Caribbean, it’s clear that women entrepreneurs are just as motivated and talented as their male counterparts, but don’t have the same networks and level of access to mentors, partners, and funding. With WeXchange we are creating a community where women can develop these networks and find those role models and mentors.” 

On the Forum’s second day, NXTPLabs issued a declaration establishing December 12 as the annual Day of the Latin Amerihttp://www.wexchange.co/can and Caribbean Woman Entrepreneur, calling on the region’s women entrepreneurs to dedicate themselves to building not only their own businesses, but also networks and communities that will benefit fellow women entrepreneurs.

For more information on the event, visit www.wexchange.co.

 
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