Women and entrepreneurs

6 March 2015
Fondo Esperanza

In the context of this year’s International Women’s Day, held on March 8, the latest survey by the Ministry of Economy shows the important role of women in entrepreneurship. In fact, the Fondo Esperanza (Hope Fund) social development bank provides support to over 77 thousand women from Arica to Chiloé.

Teresa González sits down at her sewing machine at eight in the morning to start making new garments. In the small workshop in her house she makes the baby clothes that she distributes daily among her main customers, allowing her to take care of her family while making an important financial contribution to her home.

Thousands of women like Teresa in Chile have had to become entrepreneurs. According to the latest survey by the Ministry of Economy on Entrepreneurship and Gender, 38% of micro-entrepreneurs in our country are women, and 40.8% of these are heads of household.  Therefore, they are positioning themselves as a powerful production force in Chile’s commercial engine.

Fondo Esperanza, a social development bank providing a comprehensive service of microcredits, training and promotion of networks, currently provides support to more than 92,000 entrepreneurs, from Iquique to Chiloé. 84% of these micro-entrepreneurs are women, constituting the banks’s most numerous group.

Fondo Esperanza (the Hope Fund) accompanies these women entrepreneurs as their businesses grow, adjusting credits to their production needs. According to the Social Performance Management System (2014), between the first and third years the size of the loans to women entrepreneurs increases at an average annual rate of 49%, with their sales increasing by an average of 35% a year and their profits by 31%.

These figures offer Teresa encouragement to continue in her effort and hopes for her business. Her entrepreneurship positions her as part of a productive force that moves our country’s economy on a daily basis.