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International development

Two inspiring stories of female entrepreneurship

March 3, 2021

In Colombia, with our Graduar PYMES project and participating financial institutions, we accompany female entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses and improve their living conditions and those of their communities.

Claudia Quiceno is one of them. The head of a family-run dairy retail shop, she started her business at the age of 18 with the financial resources she had at the time. In 2020, she obtained her first loan from Banco Mundo Mujer, a DID partner financial institution. The institution then granted her a second loan in 2021.

"This loan allowed me to significantly accelerate the development of my business," she says. "But what made the difference was the support. The Banco Mundo Mujer team offered me unconditional support."

Banco Mundo Mujer is 1 of the 5 financial institutions we are accompanying to help them better serve the clientele of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and thereby increase their contribution to job creation and local development.

Claudia can be proud of the positive impact her business has on her family and community. "We give people jobs, we provide high quality products that feed families well, and we grow along with our business because it's a family asset."

In its first year of operation, Claudia's business had sales of about $320 per day. Today, with the support and guidance of the Graduar Pymes project and Banco Mundo Mujer, her daily turnover has risen to $6,500.

When doing business and protecting the environment go hand in hand

Irene Ramírez is the owner of a salvage company that buys and sells materials and industrial waste. She takes care of the environment while actively contributing to the social and economic development of her city. She too has benefited from the support of Banco Mundo Mujer.

"I started from scratch. And if I'm here today, it's thanks to the credit I got from this great bank. A bank that doesn't make life more complicated for us, but takes into account the fulfillment of our commitments," she explains, stating that this mark of trust has made a huge difference for her, her business and the environmental health of her community.

"We work 100% for the environment. We recycle 100%. If we left all this garbage on the street, it would be much worse. The pandemic, the garbage, even more pandemic, with everything on the street... that's what we're working on," she says. "We're all responsible for the environment. We all have a role to play."

Through her leadership and the support of Graduar PYMES and Banco Mundo Mujer, Irene has created a dozen direct jobs and over 300 indirect jobs in her community. Her business has gone from collecting 9.6 tons of waste per year to 450 tons per year, and her annual sales have increased from $25,000 to nearly $400,000.

The Graduar PYMES project is supported by Global Affairs Canada and the Colombian financial inclusion program Banca de las Oportunidades.