The forum will be the first of its kind, LAC Women Founders Accelerator program, to highlight Women entrepreneurs and was developed by IDB Lab, WeXchange and Google, with the collaboration of the Mexican entrepreneurship hub, Centraal.
This year’s forum will be the largest meeting that connects women entrepreneurs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) areas of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) with mentors and investors, offering a space to give visibility to entrepreneurs and ideas inspirating through startup founder success stories. The ninth edition of the WeXchange Forum, the flagship event of the WeXchange platform of IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank, will take place on December 1 and 2 with the theme of “Women STEMpreneurs leading the economic recovery”.
In this edition of the WeXchange Forum, the 20 startups selected for the program will pitch their companies to a group of investors and key players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. All of them are entrepreneurship initiatives that demonstrate dynamism, innovation, and the ability to drive change for women entrepreneurs in STEM disciplines (STEMpreneurs) in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Female entrepreneurship is vital for the economic recovery of Latin America and the Caribbean, and closing gender gaps in accordance with the IDB’s strategy outlined in its Vision 2025 plan to improve lives in the region is a main objective of the WeXchange Forum. This personalized virtual acceleration program is aimed at companies in the region led by women and addresses the specific challenges of women entrepreneurs by providing them with the tools, knowledge, and connections to succeed in their businesses.
“Women entrepreneurs have an increasingly important role in the transition from a developing economy to one based on innovation and knowledge, where new ideas and technologies are likely to become economic and social solutions,” said Irene Arias Hofman, CEO of IDB Lab.
According to an IDB study, WeXInsights 2020: The Rise of Women STEMpreneurs, prior to the pandemic, LAC was witnessing improvements in high-impact women entrepreneurship, with more women entrepreneurs creating and growing companies in STEM area. To ensure that post-pandemic recovery protects prior year LAC gains, the IDB Group is pushing initiatives and efforts to assist women entrepreneurs build companies in the finance technology, education, healthcare, and biology sectors (Fintech, Edtech, Healthcare, and Biotech) with significant growth opportunities sand potential impact in Latin America and the Caribbean, one of their main motivations being to solve pressing problems in their communities or countries.
The 2021 WeXchange Forum will examine the need to solve ongoing challenges to promote female entrepreneurship and promote equal opportunities, including such areas as: lack of financing and access to capital, access to and knowledge of investment instruments, work-life balance, and the need to grow personal and professional contact networks. Further details and data on fundamental challenges that entrepreneurs may face can be found in the aforementioned study.
The 2021 WeXchange Forum is a free event and has simultaneous translation in Spanish and English. More information on the WeXchange website.
About IDB Lab
IDB Lab is the IDB Group’s innovation laboratory to promote development through the private sector by identifying, supporting, testing and piloting new solutions to development challenges and seeking to create opportunities for poor and vulnerable populations in the LAC region. To fulfill its role, it engages and inspires the private sector and works with the public sector when needed. www.idblab.org