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Isabel Brito Aguirre (far right) stands with her husband and sister at the show repair shop she owns in Chile. (Photo by Hearly G. Mayr/PADF)

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Mar. 12, 2014: The best environments for female entrepreneurs in the LATAM region actually exist in Latin America and not so much the Caribbean.

In Women’s History Month, the Women’s Entrepreneurial VentureScope index from the IADB’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) shows that Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay are the top five best countries for women entrepreneurs in the region.

The WEVentureScope examines and scores 20 countries in the five areas that most affect women’s entrepreneurship: business operating risks, including macroeconomic risks, security, and corruption;  the entrepreneurial business environment, including costs and regulatory requirements associated  with starting businesses; access to finance, including the availability and use of formal financial  products by women; capacity and skills, including educational advancement by women and availability  of business skills training; and social services, including the availability of family support programs such as childcare.

Chile received the region’s highest overall ranking with 64 out of 100, for its low macroeconomic risk, strong supplier diversity initiatives, and social service offerings. Peru, with robust business networks and technical support programs for SMEs ranked second. Colombia rounded out the top three for its well-developed SME training programs and broad access to university level education for women.

Mexico was fourth followed by Uruguay at fifth.

Costa Rica came in sixth followed by Argentina at number 7. Trinidad & Tobago broke the top ten ranks for the Caribbean with a number 8 ranking followed by Panama at number 9 and Brazil at 10th.

Costa Rica was the highest-rated Central American country, thanks to its low business operating risks and the availability of capacity and skills training for businesswomen.

Trinidad and Tobago was the highest-rated Caribbean country, owing to its high education levels and good access to finance for women entrepreneurs.

Overall, the WEVentureScope found that Latin America and the Caribbean scored relatively well for  educational and business training opportunities for women; in nearly all countries, more than 50 percent of  post-secondary education graduates are women, and more than half of the countries analyzed offer  access to business networks.

At the same time, women’s access to personal and business finance is  relatively poor in the region. In the majority of countries studied, less than a third of women had saved money in a financial institution within the past year, and banks finance only about 20 percent of their business needs, the research indicates.


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