Latin America presents itself as the new hub for women entrepreneurs in the field of new technologies. Indeed, in recent years, the South American continent has set up many programs to help women build their companies.
Marta Cruz, an icon
In a 2018 survey of 50 start-ups selected for specific programs in Latin America, 28% of the founders were women, according to TechCrunch, which also states that this number is still increasing. One of the most cited incubators is called NXTP Labs and is based in Argentina. Of the four co-founders, only one woman became an icon: Marta Cruz. A role model throughout the region. Thanks to her, the designation “Mujer Emprendedora” – Woman Entrepreneur – was created, and since its launch, 59 companies have been created, all founded by women.
Significant benefits of setting up in Latin America
For its part, IDB Lab has launched a mentoring and business networking program for women called WeXchange. Mexican-based chemical engineer and entrepreneur Laura Mendoza won the WeXchange 2018 presentation competition for her healthcare start-up. Together with her co-founders, she developed a rapid and inexpensive blood test that could diagnose diseases in less than 15 minutes. The start-up has received more than $2.5 million in venture capital and grants from donors in Latin America and the United States.
WISE, which stands for Women in STEM Entrepreneurship, is another program that grew out of a partnership between IDB Lab and the IAE Business School in Argentina. It has provided financial resources to more than 1,500 women who have founded science and new technology start-ups in Argentina, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador. For Robles, these programs are an opportunity, since they “offer women the same opportunities as men, to meet investors and mentors, obtain customized training, or present their projects and get noticed.”
Other examples of women taking the lead include Conekta in Mexico, an online payment platform that helps banks secure their processes, Laboratoria in Peru, which trains women computer engineers, Zolvers in Argentina, a platform for fair domestic services, and Kushki in Ecuador, a digital payment platform.
Thanks to an influx of incubators and initiatives to involve more women in science, engineering, and new technologies, Latin America is seeing a real increase in the number of women entrepreneurs. According to Susana Garcia Robles of IDB Lab, “attitudes are changing concerning investing in women-owned businesses. One reason for this change is the emergence of many new investors south of the border, somewhat less fussy than traditional investors, who are still reluctant to put money into women-owned companies.”