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Multilateral Investment Fund backs massive Business Training Project for Women in Peru

The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) will make a US$3 million grant to a project that will provide training to more than 100,000 women microentrepreneurs and small business owners in Peru.

The project, which weaves partnerships between international, local, public and private institutions, will also be backed by a US$1.6 million contribution from the government of Australia, which is strengthening its ties to Latin America and the Caribbean.

The project will have two tracks, one for women microentrepreneurs and another for women small business owners, addressing the lack of training tailored to the needs of women entrepreneurs. International research has found a strong correlation between training of women and economic growth in developing countries.

Similarly, microfinance institutions also benefit from better performing microenterprises and small businesses led by women because it increases demand for loans and improves the quality of their client base.

“Half of Peru's GDP is generated by small and microenterprises, and women head over 40 percent of these companies. Investing in these women makes good business sense for the Peruvian economy and for the microfinance industry,” said MIF General Manager Julie T. Katzman.

“Building women's business skills will lead to the improvement of millions of livelihoods, create much needed jobs and raise the living conditions of many low-income households in the country,” added Katzman, who especially thanked the Australian government for its generous support for this project.

Peru's leading microfinance institution, MiBanco, will work with the Thunderbird School of Global Management to develop a large-scale training program for women microentrepreneurs in all regions of Peru, incorporating lessons from previous programs.

The project will reach out to clients of all microfinance institutions in Peru and other Latin American microlenders will be encouraged to use the resulting training program, which will be available for public use.

In addition, Thunderbird will collaborate with a Peruvian university to develop a certificate program for women small business owners. This part of the project is a partnership with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative, a global effort to provide underserved women around the world with high-quality business and management education. The Arizona-based Thunderbird has implemented successful programs for women business owners in Afghanistan and Jordan.

Furthermore, the IDB’s Opportunities for the Majority initiative is working with Mibanco to structure a U$10 million loan to increase access to finance for women entrepreneurs. “This is another important step in the process to leverage the availability of credit for women business owners”, said Luiz Ros, manager of Opportunities for the Majority.

The MIF, an autonomous fund administered by the IDB, has been a major supporter of microfinance innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1993. The IDB is the leading source of long-term financing for economic and social development in this region.

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