Although the economic and social landscape in Latin America and the Caribbean can be discouraging, Latin American women continue to run their businesses amidst these challenges. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, women entrepreneurs face more complex challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean, than women in more developed countries. These challenges may include: lack of policies and programs to support and encourage entrepreneurial activity, excessive regulations, and restricted access to credit. Usually, female entrepreneurship is promoted to drive economic growth in developed countries, conversely, in developing countries it is pursued as a poverty alleviation strategy because women tend to invest resources in their communities. Chile and Colombia are considered two of the best business climates for women-owned businesses in Latin America. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to keep progressing.
Prevailing social and economic barriers in Latin America that affect entrepreneurial activity can be indeed paralyzing. However, it is important that we work around them to seek opportunities. Waiting on governments to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem for women, should not be our only option. While this may seem hard, we can start by ensuring our mindset is promoting the advancement of women entrepreneurs. Ask yourself the following questions:
Have you joined a local non-governmental organization, women-oriented platform, or activities that are helping to address these prevailing barriers?
Have you been measuring the success of your business in terms of the achievement of businesses owned by male counterparts?
Is seeing inequality discouraging your drive to succeed? What can you do to push beyond that thought?
Are you supporting other women entrepreneurs? Are you sharing your resources and engaging in ethical collaborations?
Try to answer these questions with honesty and think about how a little effort can make a collective difference. Ultimately, female leaders are powerful agents of change that contribute to social and economic growth. I encourage you to read the article “Five Ways Women Entrepreneurs Can Help Each Other Grow” written by our contributor Camila Pavia. It highlights simple but powerful ways to create an impact in your local communities.
Kerenny has worked in Puerto Rico’s Finance Industry during the past 6 years. She holds a BBA in Finance and a Master’s Degree in International Business from the Graduate School of Business at University of Puerto Rico.