Día Internacional de la Juventud
Understanding entrepreneurship in a context different from your own, learning another culture, leaving your comfort zone, applying knowledge in the field, contributing to change lives and living a unique professional and personal experience, are just some of the expectations with which ten university students crossed the Atlantic this summer, thanks to BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s DIME internship program (Development, Inclusion, Microfinance & Entrepreneurship). From the beginning of July until the end of August they stayed in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Dominican Republic and Panama, the five countries where the Foundation is present.
The aim is for them to have a first hand experience on how entrepreneurship and financial inclusion generate development, especially in a region such as Latin America, the most unequal on the planet, according to the United Nations. To this end, they spent a month visiting the central offices of the Foundation’s institution in the country where they were assigned and after a training process, they learned about the work done by the loan officers. It is the officers who accompany over 2 million entrepreneurs, in the cities and in the countryside, covered by BBVAMF; this is what the selected students will do too, during weeks of the four-week program, currently in its second year.
“This program began last year, to create awareness on the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s model and social impact. These past ten years, the Foundation has supported more than 5 million low-income entrepreneurs so they could progress with their small businesses, which guarantees equal opportunities”, declared the program head, Víctor Herrero.
In 2018, five young students travelled to Colombia and Peru. This trip, they say, changed their lives: “an experience like that can determine your future and that of many people”, “you learn to appreciate things”, “seeing that something like this exists, with such a huge social impact, made me think: ‘This is for me’,“ are just some of the feedback comments they made when they returned. “The program was such a success that this year we decided to increase the number of participants and involve more countries. In all the candidates we saw their social vocation and their drive to change things,” says Víctor Herrero.
According to a World Economic Forum Global Shapers survey, 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old. Young people’s greatest concerns are climate change, conflicts and inequality. The survey also indicated that over 43% believe that inequality is determined by income level. What is more, nearly 27% play an active role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, and over 55% indirectly contribute to the cause. When asked: “What do you miss most about society today that would make you feel more free?”, over 50% mention equal opportunities as their answer.