The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is already supporting 3,800 Venezuelan migrants through its Colombian institution

This initiative, carried out by BBVAMF’s institution in Colombia, Bancamía, mainly aims to support Venezuelans with financial services and skills training so they can start from scratch in their host country, through entrepreneurship. Bancamía’s vice president of Risk, Oscar Romero, detailed this effort in the webinar entitled “Companies supporting Venezuelans in Colombia: Bancamía’s success story”, organized by the UN Global Compact (Red Colombia) and The Tent Partnership for Refugees (Tent), an established international organization that mobilizes the private sector to improve the lives of migrants. Tent is also a fundamental ally in this program. 

In his intervention, Bancamía’s spokesperson discussed the support that has already been provided to 3,800 Venezuelan migrants through savings products and loans, and has highlighted the role that Tent plays in this project, “Last year, we joined forces with Tent and announced it during an event hosted at the United Nations. We implemented a pilot program to advance financial inclusion for Venezuelan migrants in Colombia’s border zones.”

Executive director of Tent, Gideon Maltz, considers financial inclusion as something “crucial so that refugees and displaced migrants can  have the chance to successfully be integrated in their host communities.” Maltz also added that, “Bancamía’s efforts have been invaluable, given that very few Venezuelan refugees in Colombia have access to financial services.” “The rest of the financial institutions should follow this example and find the way to expand and adapt their products and services to serve this segment.”

During the webinar, Óscar Romero also announced the extension of Empropaz (Productive Entrepreneurship for Peace), a program which the institution carries out with USAID. The initiative, designed for those affected by the armed conflict in Colombia, will start including Venezuelan migrants. With USAID’s contribution of 2 million USD, Empropaz will deliver specialized training in business management and socio-entrepreneurship enhancement, in addition to offering access to Bancamía’s financial services.

Another initiative that was highlighted, is the alliance that Bancamía is starting to forge with the Bogota Chamber of Commerce .“We would be their financial ally, by facilitating access to products and services to Venezuelan microentrepreneurs , business-minded people who are already being served through the Chamber of Commerce’s training and capacity building programs”, shared Romero.

In parallel, Bancamía will come together with International Finance Corporation (IFC, World Bank Group), one of BBVAMF’s main partners, to design an adequate value offer for this population segment, especially for women who have had to leave their countries of origin.

Given the COVID-19 health crisis, beneficiaries of these programs have received debt relief services offered by  BBVAMF’s Colombian institution to its more than 1.1 million clients, who have had to halt their businesses and find new sources of income.

Learn about Don Jorge’s story: a Venezuelan who arrived to Colombia in search of a better life, and who found out that entrepreneurship is one way to start from scratch.