BBVA Microfinance Foundation and Credicoop relaunch operations in Chile under a new brand name “Emprende Microfinanzas”

  • Emprende Microfinanzas aspires to consolidate its leadership in providing specialized services for the most disadvantaged, with specialized microfinance products and services for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
  • Currently around 70% of Chilean small businesses and freelancers have no access to financial services, despite the sector providing more than 40% of the country’s employment.

This morning the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA) announced the relaunch of its operations in Chile, unveiling Emprende Microfinanzas as the new brand image in Chile for the microfinancing entity Servicios Microfinancieros, which the FMBBVA set up in 2009 along with Credicoop.

Emprende Microfinanzas is a limited company that aims to promote the financial inclusion and development of Chile’s small businesses, self-employed workers and most vulnerable entrepreneurs, by providing individual credit for production activities. The company, which currently has a base of 7 thousand customers (46% women) a loan book of 9 million dollars and a network of 27 branches in 6 regions, reported that it expects to triple its activity in the short term.

For the Chairman of FMBBVA and Chairman of the new institution, Manuel Méndez del Río, “our aim by extending and broadening operations in Chile is to enable people who do not currently have access to the financial system to finance production activities to help sustainably improve their quality of life and that of their families, generating wealth and promoting the economic and social welfare of the country”.

Meanwhile, the general manager of Emprende Microfinanzas, Pablo Coloma, Chile added that “self-employment and microentrepeneurship alone represent 40% of employment in the country, while there is evidence that entrepreneurial activity reduces the national poverty average. We therefore believe our company’s operation help to overcome inequalities”.

Emprende Microfinanzas has been set up based on the FMBBVA’s criteria of self-sufficiency and sustainability, with any profits being reinvested to improve and develop activities and bolster the capital base. The entity will continue the microfinance operations operated since 1986 by Cooperativa Credicoop.

Microenterprise, a major player in the Chilean economy

Microenterprises in Chile are family run businesses, with entrepreneurs using small ventures to feed their families and educate their children.

They are also run by women and young people who supplement their family incomes, helping to provide access to basic services and, in many cases, overcome situations of poverty and vulnerability.

It is a very heterogeneous sector, both in terms of revenue and production areas. They include street traders, established merchants, artisans, farmers, transport workers and market vendors, to name a few.

Chile is estimated to have around one million four hundred microenterprises, representing 90% of the country’s companies.

More than half of these small businesses operate in the informal sector, as prevailing legislation is often not appropriate for their circumstances.

Microenterprises represent more than 40% of the country’s employment. The informal sector alone provides between 15% and 20% of jobs.

Despite this being a sector with high levels of vulnerability, poverty rates tend to be lower amongst the self-employment. The 15% poverty rate indicated by official figures for Chile falls to 6.8% amongst microentrepeneurs.

*Sources: CASEN 2009 and SII. For further information, see