Financial inclusion changes lives: Jessica Hernández, the BBVAMF entrepreneur who went from renting washing machines to owning a sewing workshop

The image of Jessica Hernández, a young entrepreneur served by BBVA Microfinance Foundation in Colombia, carrying a washing machine on her shoulders, went around the world and is something hard to forget, until now. Journeying as far as her house in Soacha, a district 20 km from Bogota, BBVA group executive chairman Carlos Torres Vila wanted to see how she has progressed- a woman who, a year ago, went to the United Nations to give voice to the efforts of 1.2 million female entrepreneurs supported by the Foundation in Latin America, 60% of the 2 million people plus it serves.

“Jessica is an example of how the support of BBVA Microfinance Foundation makes it possible for people like her, to improve their small businesses,” guaranteed the BBVA chairman. The Colombian female entrepreneur has made use of this visit to show him her sewing workshop which opened a little more than a year ago, and with which she has exchanged her washing machine rental business. She also shared how she sees herself in the future, “I imagine myself studying, with a team of people sewing with me, and spending more time with my children, because that is a lifelong career.”

According to her, the help of Bancamía, BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s Colombian institution, has been essential during that time, “They came to my house, saw my income and expenses and they advised me about how much loan I could request without being over-indebted, how to pay the installments and how I could prosper.” She also says that she couldn’t believe it when they granted her the loan because it’s difficult to receive support “when you’re a woman and head of household.”

Women like Jessica are pushing for real change in the society, starting with their children’s education, who are this country’s future”

Jessica’s determination has impressed the BBVA chairman, who observed how important it is to relay her story, “for other female entrepreneurs like her to see how they could access adequate financial support, especially when almost 60% of Colombian women don’t even own a bank account.” He also remarked that “women like Jessica are pushing for real change in the society, starting with their children’s education, who are this country’s future.”

This is exactly what mainly motivates Jessica, mother of four- all below ten years of age- who spends the little free time she has to acquire skills training, put her children to school and in time, in the university. As she herself has stated, “education is the window to the future.”