November 28, 2017 (Inter-American Development Bank), Washington DC: IDB Invest, the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, announced today the closing and disbursement of a $100 million loan to the Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco. This project supports micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Brazil that are majority-owned by women seeking to increase the financing available in this market segment.
The IDB Invest loan will help to scale the Mulher Empreendedora program of Itaú Unibanco. The main objective of this program is to empower women entrepreneurs in Brazil, who are growing in number and increasing their participation in the economy. Since the beginning of the program more than 6,000 women entrepreneurs have registered on the platform — 4,760 of them are Itaú customers. Overall, 43,000 people have been involved in the program through Itaú’s social media network.
Resources from the loan will be on-lent to MSMEs that are at least 51 percent owned by women and with annual sales of up to R$8 million (roughly $2.5 million). The new operation is complementary to the technical cooperation provided since 2012 by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), part of the IDB Group, dedicated to developing products and services specifically tailored for women entrepreneurs through the women entrepreneurship Banking (weB) program. In five years the weB program has approved loans and technical support to 18 financial institutions in 11 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Itaú Unibanco will complement the loan resources from the IDB Invest financing with non-financial services, which will improve the value proposition that its women-entrepreneur customers receive. The bank offers in-person and online solutions to train, inspire and connect women entrepreneurs such as online mentoring networking events and content related to business, leadership and management. Itaú Unibanco is one of the few banks in the region that has built a platform that offers its clients a non-financial services catalog that provides additional value by not only focusing on access to credit, but also on the range of possibilities that women entrepreneurs can access with that financing.