Isabel Rivero and Iris Eliana Salazar are Peruvian women entrepreneurs who face daily struggles to drive their small businesses forward with the support of the Palabra de Mujer program.
Wilder Osorio is also an entrepreneur. He migrated to Lima from his native city when he was 16 to be a garment factory worker. Now, at 27, he runs his own business and employs 8 people.
María del Carmen Trejo is another entrepreneur who, at 55 years old, doesn’t tire of dreaming of a better future for her and her family.
All of them have been able to share their projects and hopes with BBVA Chairman Carlos Torres Vila who, yet again, wished to know more about BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s (BBVAMF) work at the grassroots level and how it affects the low-income communities of Latin America.
Accompanying Carlos Torres Vila were BBVA Microfinance Foundation CEO, Javier Flores and Financiera Confianza general manager, Luis Germán Linares.
Financial Education and advice for their businesses
The BBVAMF supports more than 725,000 people in Peru through its institution, Financiera Confianza and more than 2.7 million people in Latin America. In 2007, BBVA created the BBVA Microfinance Foundation as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility with a 300 million dollar endowment to put its more than 160 years of experience at the service of vulnerable segments.
With its activity, BBVAMF makes it possible for women like Isabel Rivero to make their dreams of giving their children a better education a reality, thanks to programs like Palabra de Mujer and Emprendiendo Mujer. Both initiatives allow women entrepreneurs in vulnerable conditions to access small loans that help them push their projects forward, in addition to receiving financial education and advice for managing their businesses.
These women show great merit in their work and they are true examples of strength and integrity to move forward. Palabra de Mujer currently serves more than 36,000 female entrepreneurs, mostly young women around 35 years of age and with an average loan of around 280 euros.
In 2021, the initiative has been reinforced with skills training with Academia Palabra de Mujer, a virtual program, free of charge, which is helping women entrepreneurs reactivate their businesses post-pandemic.
Women as engines for development
The BBVAMF supports equal opportunities in vulnerable population segments giving special attention to women in poverty: in fact, 7 out of 10 entrepreneurs who work with the Foundation and have crossed the poverty threshold are women.
According to the most recent data from OECD, the BBVAMF is the international leader in contribution to development in Latin America and the top global contributor to gender equality initiatives in the world.
This is the case of María del Carmen Trejo, who with her anticuchos (beef heart skewers) eatery was able to give her youngest son the education that the elder ones weren’t able to recieve. “He’s now studying international commerce”, she excitedly shares.
She also had to reinvent her business during the pandemic. According to what she recounted to Carlos Torres, “My son always encouraged me to open my own eatery and I said ‘no, I earned more by peddling.’ But then the pandemic forced me to change my mind so here I am, very happy and thankful, because my business is growing.”