In focus: Government schemes and incentives for women entrepreneurs in Mexico
With female entrepreneurship in Mexico on the rise, women are gaining independence and how! They are not only finding the blessing of ‘empowerment’ enriching their lives but they are also satisfied at changing the world around them. And, this also brings in the fact that they are challenging the culture too, in a positive way.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses in different parts of the country faced challenges to keep functioning; and it was observed that women-led enterprises suffered most. This was because the new normal was ‘digital’ and many women in Mexico lacked access to digital networks & technologies that would facilitate smooth business operation, when human contact was restricted (as we all were aware). To add to this, many gender-focused institutions also stepped up and emphasised digital inclusion of women entrepreneurs.
Today, in Mexico, more women-led enterprises have upped their game in gaining access to opportunities for getting included for financial help too.
Here are some government schemes directed at women entrepreneurs in the country of Mexico.
> SME Women Program
In 2016, the President of Mexico – President Enrique Peña Nieto led the celebration of International Women’s Day in a unique way. He had announced SME Women Program, aiming to grant preferential credits to women entrepreneurs.
It was designed by the development banks of the Mexican state, the National Institute of Entrepreneurship and the National Institute for Women, the goal of which is to grant loans on preferential terms to women entrepreneurs and for this to contribute their achieving their financial autonomy. The SME Women Program was targeted at giving women economic independence. This helped in opening up greater spaces of access to credit will allow women to start their own projects, their own business, without any hesitation or fear.
> ‘Mati virtual’
This is a unique programme to build women entrepreneurship. Corporativa de Fundaciones, a community foundation in western Mexico, had designed an online programme called “Mati virtual” that focused on helping women entrepreneurship. This aimed at offering business training for women entrepreneurs in Jalisco and other states. The objective of the programme was multifaceted – to broaden the business vision of entrepreneurs, grow profits and expand the market beyond the physical context. The participants also learned the ways and strategies of how to reach a customer online.
Mati helped a lot of female entrepreneurs like Quetzali from Oaxaca in the south of Mexico, who stated – “All my sales are through the internet. I have sold in several places and done all my social-media content on my own.” It was obvious that before Mati, she had no idea how to sell, she was grateful that she had learned the strategies of online distribution.
In addition to training, Mati encourages entrepreneurs to collaborate and share ideas too. This again opened up opportunities for women, who were aspiring to start their own business or those who even wanted to expand their business.
> The Marketplace Literacy Project
The Marketplace Literacy Project was set up in 2016. Significantly, this is an initiative designed to help those living in poor settings, to actually rise up and become entrepreneurs, by extending support. This could start with first, acknowledging the skills the aspiring entrepreneurs already have in the marketplace and then, by giving them the tools to build on and also market pre-existing skills.
The Marketplace Literacy Project, from the time it was set up, has helped numerous women by equipping them with tools for economic independence. Those who participated were backed by two factors – one is that they gain ‘autonomy’ which becomes a very important concept and another plus point is that they do not need money to start a business.