Soacha’s heroines

1 March 2019 // Laura Garcia Saez
Bancamía
Fundación Microfinanzas BBVA

They lead different lives and have gone through unique experiences, but Jessica and Norma have more things in common, than they could ever imagine. Both are women, Colombians, entrepreneurs, and they both have the necessary strength and courage to move forward to a better life.

They both live in the same municipality, in Soacha, and one day, they decided to seek for Bancamía‘s support, BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s MFI in Colombia. Both wanted to boost their businesses and achieve progress for them, their family, and their community. Would you like to know what else connects them?

Her story has crossed frontiers. Press outlets from Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and even China, echoed the way this 28-year old entrepreneur works day after day to provide for her four young children, who she brings up all by herself.

She started renting out washing machines that she transported herself, a job that she then exchanged for sewing clothes in her own house. Bancamía supported her through this process, making it easier for her to buy more washing machines and a sewing machine, allowing her to earn more. Thanks to this, she was able to improve her housing, enroll in a pattern-making course and keep making her life more prosperous, together with her kids.

 Watch the full video here.

 

This entrepreneur has progressed by educating children, who at the same time, allowed her to contribute to her community’s development. Norma opened a day care center in her own house, accomodating a small group at first, which now has grown to 60 pupils. Her project serves a a “refugee” for these young ones, most of them victims of the country’s armed conflict, members of single-parent households, or orphans who are in the adoption process. Microcredits from Bancamía also helped her employ five people and expand her house, which now has enough space to adequately welcome the children.

 Watch the full video here. 

 

Financial inclusion as a driving force for development

A few days ago, both entrepreneurs shared the floor during an event to promote gender equality, where they shared their stories of personal triumph. Organized by Aequales, they talked about how accessing the formal financial system through Bancamía has changed their lives and their businesses. Because of this, the two women highlighted how important women’s financial inclusion is, especially when it comes to reducing poverty and social inequality. In their speeches, they thanked the support they received and still receive from the MFI, stressing the fact that with this help and a lot of work, the “fears” one might have, could be transformed into ” a driving force to fulfill dreams”.

Jessica: “You are the author of your own well-being. If you look for an idea and focus on it, you start to work on a life project, becoming an example and seeking inner strength to push through”.

“Bancamía has always supported my ideas, and financial education has been crucial. Their advice helps entrepreneurs like me to transform our fears into driving forces to fulfill dreams”.

Norma: “Bancamía appeared in my life to lend me a hand. I stopped believing that women are only good in a kitchen, and I realized we could also work on what we want, help the community and generate income for the home”.

“Bancamía has been with me in my growth and in becoming a leader, to be able to provide tools to help parents and children in my community”.

Women are a priority for Bancamía

Just like Jessica and Norma, Bancamía serves more than one million entrepreneurs in Colombia. More than half of them are women, who access enterprising opportunities, and the chance to build a better future. 83% of these female entrepreneurs live under vulnerable conditions. Because of this. Bancamía seeks to economically empower them “acknowledging their talent and potential as entrepreneurs, social stabilizers, mothers, farmers and wives”, shares Margaria Correa, president of the institution’s Board of Directors. This is the first step to contributing to an “inclusive, more just and more equal” Colombia.