In an especially hard year for the world of entrepreneurship, BBVA continued supporting entrepreneurs who create a positive social impact. The bank devoted €7.7 million euros (5 percent of the total investment in social programs) to entrepreneurship initiatives, benefitting 2.61 million entrepreneurs in 2020.
On the occasion of World Entrepreneurs’ Day (April 16), BBVA takes a look back at its 2020 highlights in figures. A sector, which, according to the World Economic Forum, needs to be positioned " positioned as a problem-solving process that seeks to address systemic challenges," with the aim of ensuring that it contributes to what the WEF dubs the "Great Reset.”
As part of its Community Investment Plan, and in a year marked by a pandemic that dealt a severe impact on entrepreneurs, the entity supported actions and programs that have had a direct impact on SDG 8 (Decent work and inclusive growth.)
BBVA paid special attention to those entrepreneurs who are in a situation of vulnerability or working to make a difference within the communities they serve.
BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA)
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), startups founded entirely by men are 10 percent more likely to get funding, compared to those that include at least a woman.
Achieving a more equal and fair world will require reducing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and promoting projects led by women. In 2020, the FMBBVA supported 2.61 million entrepreneurs in vulnerable situations, 57 percent of them women. Despite the pandemic, its local branches in five Latin American countries remained close to all their beneficiaries thanks to the digital transformation process they started tackling years ago. The Foundation originated a total of €944 million in microcredits last year, averaging €1,235 per loan (figures include all loans originated in local currency).
The FMBBVA began its journey in 2007. Since then, it has lent a total €12,654 million euros, through its local entities, to finance 5 million low-income entrepreneurs in Latin America. Its work has been recognized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which recently ranked it as the world’s second largest and Latin America’s leading private philanthropic organization in contribution to development, only behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation is also the world’s top contributor to development for gender equality.
BBVA Momentum offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to scale-up their business models and amplify their positive impact, providing selected candidates with a combination of training, strategic mentorship, networking and access to financing. 100 entrepreneurs, leaders of companies pursuing a social and/or environmental purpose, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) took part in the 2020 edition, held in Mexico – in a 100 percent digital format. BBVA Mexico devoted a total of MXN150 million to fund the shortlisted projects.
Since it first launched in 2011, BBVA Momentum has accelerated the growth of 784 social companies in Spain, Colombia, the United States, Peru, Turkey and Mexico. To do this, it has enrolled 477 professional experts, most of them from BBVA, who have supported the project undertaking mentorship and specialist roles. Additionally, BBVA helped a 87 companies grow providing them with a total of €12 million in funding since its first edition.
At the local level, BBVA has contributed to support and foster entrepreneurship across its footprint by promoting the following initiatives.
BBVA's initiatives in this country focused on two population groups hit particularly hard by the pandemic: Young people and women.
- Mi Primera Empresa (My First Business) is a program rolled out to develop and strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit of its participants, aged between 17 and 25 years. In 2020, 420 young aspiring entrepreneurs had the chance to access the tools they needed and develop a business plan using the Foundation’s Digital Platform for Financial Education.
- BBVA also partnered with Asociación Civil Mujeres 2000 to inspire the entrepreneurial spirit and foster social inclusion among women entrepreneurs. Thanks to this alliance, despite the disruption wreaked by the pandemic, the organizations were able to organize a series of Entrepreneurship Management Workshops that helped promote a total of 40 projects led by women from low-income neighborhoods in the Northern Metropolitan Region of the Buenos Aires Province. Thanks to this initiative, the participating entrepreneurs received training on finance, business models and online 'marketing' and sales' tools, among others.
The BBVA School for Entrepreneurship in Colombia was born in 2012 with the aim of helping young people acquire financial and entrepreneurial skills and inspire them to pursue their business-related ideas. Throughout eight years of activity, the initiative has supported some 300,000 students and 2,000 teachers.
In 2020, BBVA partnered with YouthSpeak Forum and Regeneration Ruta 7 to connect young Spaniards with experts, organizations and companies through various events. The debates spurred during these meetings among the 900 young participants drawn by the events, helped inspire a number of ideas and projects with a positive impact in the achievement of the SDGs and the Europe 2020 vision.
Garanti BBVA’s support to entrepreneurship in 2020 crystallized through two initiatives:
- Women Entrepreneur: This training program, in partnerships with Ekonomist, a financial publication, and the Turkish Women Entrepreneurs Association (KAGIDER), was designed to offer support for women entrepreneurs in Turkey and help them build up the business and financial skills they need to grow their business sustainably.The training process concludes with an award ceremony encompassing four categories: 'Female Entrepreneur of Turkey', "Female Entrepreneur with the greatest impact on her region', 'Turkey"s most promising female entrepreneur' and 'Social entrepreneur of Turkey.' The 2020 edition drew 2,337 participants.
- Garanti BBVA Partners: This initiative offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop innovative ideas and transform them into sustainable businesses. In addition, in 2020, it committed to bringing to life the ideas proposed by innovative entrepreneurs who lacked resources or methodologies. Last year, the program chose five companies to support them in fostering their sustainable growth and strategic development.
In 2020, 280 participants benefited from the Entrepreneurship Program that BBVA develops in alliance with the Andrés Bello Catholic University. The purpose of this initiative is to promote knowledge on entrepreneurship-related issues and is geared towards citizens interested in building their own companies, applying methodologies for the creation and conceptualization of business models.
BBVA's focus on working with startups has helped it establish itself as a respected voice in the ecosystem. Open Innovation, is the bank's unit responsible for forging ties with 'fintech' entrepreneurs around the world. Through its Open Marketplace platform, the unit held 244 quality collisions (the term used to refer to the point in time when BBVA and a startup sit down to talk), executed 18 pilots, scaled-up 3 pilots and moved 7 pilots into the worldwide scalability analysis phase.
In addition, the bank rolled out its 'Fast Track' initiative more than four years ago, to efficiently match solutions offered by startups with the needs of the bank's business areas. In 2020, the initiative managed to plough ahead at full steam amid the pandemic, with seven sessions held, six of them virtual, to analyze 14 different projects.
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