A Business to Call Her Own: Identifying, Analyzing and Overcoming Constraints to Women's Small Businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean

Examining challenges facing women's microenterprises in Latin America
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This study explores gender differences in microenterprises in Latin America, and identifies barriers that women face as they start and grow their businesses.

Women’s small businesses are considered critical to the social fabric of developing countries as women are more inclined to use their income for the education, health, and well-being of their families and communities. The study uses quantitative and qualitative data and case studies from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, and Peru to explore the role of access to financial services in the growth of women’s microenterprises. Main barriers to women’s businesses in Latin America include:

  • Lack of access to financial products and services;
  • Risk aversion;
  • Social conventions;
  • Family responsibilities;
  • Lack of education and training;
  • Lack of knowledge of technology.

Research findings suggest that while women do not significantly contribute to business growth in Latin America in comparison to men, they do contribute to the social and economic welfare of their families. Policy interventions should address the above constraints and support women to overcome them.

About this Publication

By Powers, J. & Magnoni, B.