Press release: IFC and Itaú Unibanco partner to improve financial education for women entrepreneurs in Brazil
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will support Banco Itaú Unibanco, one of the largest private financial institutions in Brazil, to create a financial education digital course for women entrepreneurs. This initiative will become one of the cornerstones of Itaú Mulher Empreendedora, a capacity building program designed to inspire, connect, and enable women entrepreneurs in their professional journeys.
IFC and Itaú will work to design and implement an eLearning video course directed to women entrepreneurs – owners or shareholders of businesses of all types and in any stage of maturity- in partnership with EduK, one of the largest online learning platforms in Latin America. The content of the course will include methodologies to evaluate the profitability of businesses as well as classes on growth strategies and techniques, and financial management. Eight thousand female entrepreneurs are expected to take the eLearning video course in the first year of its launch. The digitalization of Itaú Mulher Empreendedora’s existing services portfolio is key to allow the program to reach more female entrepreneurs while they develop their businesses.
This is IFC’s second advisory engagement with Itaú Unibanco; it comes as a continuation of the technical assistance signed in 2013, which supported Itaú in launching Itaú Mulher Empreendedora. That same year, Itaú Unibanco was also the recipient of IFC’s first investment in Latin America under its Banking on Women Program; IFC invested $470 million in Itaú to support the expansion of its women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) program. Since then, around 70,000 loans have been granted by the bank under that program.
Women represent half of the world’s population and own more than 40 percent of businesses registered in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a World Bank-IFC Enterprise survey. Strengthening women’s roles as leaders and entrepreneurs has the potential to transform entire economies and societies. However, low financial access and self-esteem remain challenges that must be overcome for many women throughout the region.
“Gender equality is at the center of the development agenda in Brazil, and thus a critical part of IFC’s strategy to expand opportunities and inclusion in the country,” said Ramiro Garcia, IFC’s Head of Financial Institutions for Brazil and the Southern Cone. “We are very pleased to be working with Itaú in this long-standing partnership that is helping to support gender equality while also fostering the SMEs sector and the whole entrepreneurship environment in Brazil,” he added.
“Working with female entrepreneurship is well aligned with Itaú’s strategy; it supports the sustainable development of our business and of the country, and brings social benefits in addition to economic gains”, said Denise Hills, Itaú-Unibanco’s superintendent of sustainability and inclusive business. “The partnership with IFC in this online course allows women to gain access to educational content in a very flexible way as the training can be taken from any place, at any time and at their own pace, ensuring higher dedication and better results,” she added.
IFC’s support for Itaú Unibanco is part of the World Bank Group’s Gender Strategy, which was developed in consultation with stakeholders from governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector in over 22 countries. As part of that strategy, IFC launched the Banking on Women program, which is already playing a catalytic role in helping financial institutions meet the needs of women entrepreneurs in a sustainable and profitable way. The program has committed 40 investments globally, totaling around $1.22 billion, and undertaken 30 advisory projects since its launch in 2010.
Photo courtesy of Remko van Dokkum.
Source: Press release