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Latin America's Top Countries for Women Entrepreneurs

(Image: Peru's Ministry of Women)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Countries that provide conditions such as ample financial access, training programs, and social services are more likely to cultivate female entrepreneurs, says a new study. The Women’s Entrepreneurial VentureScope—launched by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund on July 25—is the first comprehensive assessment to score Latin America’s best and worst environments for women business owners of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The study ranked 20 countries based on five factors: security and stability, business climate, access to finance, capacity and skills, and social services.

Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico placed as the four top countries for women entrepreneurs in Latin America. Chile, first on the list, tops the region in terms of security and stability, business climate, and social services. Mexico placed first in finance, given options to access credit and loans. Peru and Colombia came in second and third overall with some of the best skills training programs in Latin America.

Two of the region’s biggest economies didn’t fare as well on the ranking; Argentina and Brazil placed at spots 7 and 10, respectively. Despite strong social services, the high operating risks and perceived vulnerability to corruption lowered these countries’ score for security and stability. Paraguay and Jamaica placed last in the study as both provide minimal access to finance and technology.

On the whole, the region performed strongly in educational and business opportunities. In most countries, women hold more than 50 percent of post-secondary education degrees. Still, financing options are weak; in the past year, less than a third of women saved money in banks, and financial institutions only provide 20 percent of necessary funding.