USAID and Mastercard’s Business Accelerator for Women Tech Entrepreneurs in Latin America

Date published: April 14, 2022

“I don't sign contracts with women,” retorted one businessman when entrepreneur Verónica Crisafulli presented him with a potential business opportunity. Even as an established and successful businesswoman, the co-founder and CEO of MO Technologies, Verónica has been regularly sidelined because she is a woman.

Many women entrepreneurs across Latin America experience sex discrimination as they navigate the business world. In a recent study, 84% of women entrepreneurs reported facing more difficulties starting and leading a company than their male counterparts. Across the region, only 1% of women entrepreneurs have access to angel investors, seed capital, and venture capital funds, the three primary sources of funding for launching and accelerating a business.

To address this gap, Mastercard and USAID launched Start Path Empodera, a business accelerator to support women entrepreneurs in Colombia and Peru. As the first gender-smart accelerator of the award-winning Mastercard Start Path program, Start Path Empodera aims to advance women’s economic opportunities and foster a more inclusive digital economy through a program designed to support early-stage, female-founded ventures that develop financial technology or fintech solutions, drive financial inclusion, and scale digital commerce.

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