In focus: Schemes and initiatives for women entrepreneurs in Peru.
In Peru, entrepreneurship is an essential driver of innovation, growth and employment (for both men and women). The good news is that the government has strengthened facilities for entrepreneurs through investment in macroeconomic stability and improvement in legal and regulatory conditions for doing business. At the same time, the market for Peru’s goods and services have expanded domestically, because of a growing middle-class with disposable income, and internationally, through a network of preferential trade agreements.
Since assuming leadership in 2011, Peru’s current government has focused on social and economic inclusion, through both foundational support for entrepreneurship (such as improvements to education and infrastructure) and direct assistance to entrepreneurs. What are the key considerations affecting woman-owned enterprises – to reach the markets needed for success?
Over the last two decades, Peru has seen a consistent rise in the number of women entrepreneurs, as a result of several business and government partnerships, which provided free access to business training for women.
So, women’s entrepreneurship here, has great potential as a tool for transforming the Peruvian economy, which has experienced significant improvements in growth.
Here are some schemes and initiatives targeting women entrepreneurs in Peru.
> Ministry of Production (PRODUCE)
As an innovative move, the Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) promotes new forms of financing for MSMEs. This includes factoring, which allows businesses to collect their advance account thus providing more liquidity to suppliers. This mechanism can be particularly useful for MSMEs that sell goods and wait for long periods for payments from buyers. In fact, use of factoring can help women entrepreneurs access short-term finance without any loan.
Among the government programs that facilitate connections between enterprises and new sources of investment – is the development funds that PRODUCE uses to promote formation of clusters, formation of businesses, along with the inclusion of micro and small businesses in supply chains. There is an opportunity to promote and integrate greater participation of women through more inclusive outreach, especially among the new programs.
> Start-Up Peru
In addition, the “Start-Up Peru” campaign developed by PRODUCE is a mix of – contests and funds for entrepreneurs, young businesses & business incubators. Its main objective is to promote the launch and consolidation of businesses that provide innovative products/services with a large portion of technological content, have potential to reach international markets, and generate high-quality employment. The aim of PRODUCE is to reach out to women’s organizations to promote inclusion of women among start-up firms and to coordinate with MIMP in implementing “boot camps” as an approach to launching viable enterprises. Online financial transactions, mobile banking, and innovations in investment have the potential to facilitate transactions and expand market opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Peru.
And more effort needs to be put in to educate potential users and create trust among users in this new way of carrying out financial transactions. Many prefer to use the old style bank transactions but there is clearly an appetite to learn and embrace new technologies too.
> United States Agency of International Development (USAID)
The United States Agency of International Development (USAID) is now (Feb 2023) accepting applications for the Empowerment of women in the solid waste management system: Development of seed capital delivering model and business advisory service for women-led entrepreneurship and economy projects.
CCBO Peru (USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) program) intends to contribute to the formation of a value chain in the management of solid waste and a more inclusive emerging circular economy. To this end, CCBO implements strategies that allow women to break down barriers that prevent access to technical, management and financial support.
Under this solicitation, CCBO seeks to deliver financial resources, and technical and management assistance through an incubation system for women-led entrepreneurships in the solid waste management and circular economy in Pisco, Paita, and Máncora.
> Union of Women Entrepreneurs of Peru (UMEP)
UMEP focuses on networking and advocacy for women micro entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium enterprises, and they have 24 chapters throughout Peru. UMEP gives strong support to its members’ specially in their participation in – exhibitions and fairs, and trains them on how to use ICT tools for business purposes.
> WEConnect International
The main factor is that WEConnect International’s national chapter in Peru connects women entrepreneurs to major global corporations ( which are seeking to diversify their supplier base). It’s track record is amazing. As of 2015, WEConnect Peru had worked with over 400 women entrepreneurs and certified at least 83 as women-owned businesses. What is significant is that WEConnect Peru holds regular training and networking events for women entrepreneurs.
> Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Peru (AMEP)
What is prominent is that AMEP (founded in 2009) advocates for policies that promote equal opportunities for men and women in business, including equal pay. What AMEP provides entrepreneurs is indeed special – for it gives business-skills training. Plus it has also partnered with WEConnect and the Chamber of Commerce of Lima on a series of Women in Business Roundtables in Lima.
> International Organization of Women in Trade—Peru (OWIT-Peru)
OWIT-Peru, a chapter of OWIT International, brings together a large base – over 200 women entrepreneurs, executives and professionals of women-owned businesses in Peru. Established in 1998, OWIT Peru offers a number of useful activities – like networking opportunities, training, conferences, and professional development workshops as well as mentoring opportunities with experienced professionals.
The WE-APEC initiative was founded in 2015, and there is no single model for a successful, vibrant business network. Business networks actually need sound organizational foundations, accountable governance and motivated memberships; and most networks would benefit from improved access to new or nontraditional sources of funds or programming. Networks could also improve the connections to members and new markets – by developing tools to help woman-owned businesses market their goods/services in other economies too.
> WE-APEC: an opportunity for women who run businesses in Peru
The Women’s Entrepreneurship in APEC initiative (WE-APEC) is really important. It represents a vast resource of information on business networks, private sector initiatives, and government services that support women’s entrepreneurship across the Asia-Pacific region.
Plus, with an online hub (WE-APEC.com) launched in September 2015, WE-APEC is a platform for identifying and connecting women’s entrepreneurship networks in each economy with public and private sector support services and global supply chains – which is a great help to expand economic opportunities and regional trade. There are individual pages for Peru and all other APEC economies. Each economy’s page features major networks, initiatives, and programs. These include tools to educate women on – the importance of quality product standards and certifications required to market goods and services abroad.