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Social> Entrepreneurship 07 Dec 2021

Carlos Torres Vila meets with entrepreneurs of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, a leading contributor in Latin America

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On the occasion of his visit to Peru and Colombia, BBVA's Chair took the opportunity to learn firsthand about the impact of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s efforts and to announce the winners of the 'Transformando Realidades (Transforming Realities)' scholarships, which help children of vulnerable microentrepreneurs pursue a college degree. "Meeting these entrepreneurs face to face is a life lesson," said Carlos Torres Vila, who recalled the Microfinance Foundation’s pledge to originate €7 billion in productive microcredits between 2021 and 2024 to support vulnerable entrepreneurs.

According to the OECD’s most recent data, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA) is the region’s top private contributor to development and the world’s leading foundation in contribution to gender equality. Out of every 10 entrepreneurs supported by the foundation who pull out of poverty, seven are women. Investing in them helps not only to close the gender gap, but also to reduce poverty. As Carlos Torres Vila noted, “it is an essential condition if we aim to secure a truly sustainable and inclusive economic and social development for all.”

During his visit to Lima, the BBVA Chair met with several customers of Financiera Confianza, the Microfinance Foundation’s local branch in Peru, which serves more than 725,000 people, 53% women.

Isabel Rivero, Iris Eliana Salazar, Wilder Osorio and María del Carmen Trejo are the four Peruvians who shared their work and projects with Carlos Torres Vila. Isabel and Iris are two entrepreneurs who strive every day to succeed running their small businesses and, for this, they have joined the Palabra de Mujer (A Woman’s Word) program. Wilder relocated from Tarma to Lima aged 16 to work as line operator in a garment factory. Now, at 27, she runs her own business, which employs 18 people. Every day, 55 year old María del Carmen dreams of a brighter future for her family and herself, a tireless pursuit that inspires her to run her anticuchos restaurant (grilled beef skewers which are a staple of Peruvian cusine).

The BBVA Chair expressed his gratitude to the entrepreneurs for sharing her stories and dubbed the experience of hearing them firsthand "a life lesson", because "they are capable of getting ahead in very complex environments, especially in the time of the pandemic, and they deserve a better chance and our full support.”

During his visit to Peru, Carlos Torres Vila underscored the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s pledge to originate €7 billion in microcredits to support more than 4.5 million vulnerable entrepreneurs across its footprint (Colombia , Peru, Chile, Dominican Republic and Panama). This investment will create a positive impact on more than 100 million people.

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From right to left in the photo: Carlos Torres Vila, BBVA Chairman, with Sebastián Carreño Pinzón, one of the beneficiaries of the BBVA-FMBBVA scholarships.

Five young Colombians will pursue a college degree thanks to the BBVA-FMBBVA scholarships

Trying to secure a better future for their children is one of the greatest motivators for many of the 2.7 million entrepreneurs (59% women) supported by FMBBVA in Latin America. Only 35% of these entrepreneurs have completed a basic education cycle (primary cycle at the most), although this figure stands at 43% in Colombia.

After Peru, during his visit to Colombia, BBVA’s Chair took part in the Transformando Realidades scholarship award ceremony. The scholarships will help five young students, children of low-income microentrepreneurs supported by the Foundation from different parts of the country, to make their college academic dreams come true.

These full-ride scholarships, sponsored by Bancamía (the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s local unit in Colombia) in collaboration with BBVA Colombia, cover all tuition, room and board expenses of tuition through graduation, and also envisage the provision of a personal computer to each one of the recipients.

Speaking at the ceremony, Carlos Torres Vila encouraged the young winners to follow the example set by their parents, since "education is the best legacy one can leave their children" and pointed out that it is "the key to people’s advancement and society’s development. It is a driver of growth, a door to opportunities and a force, perhaps the most important, to correct inequalities.”