Mercado Pago’s ongoing efforts to strengthen inclusion and the democratization of money in Latin America have included the introduction of two financial education projects aimed to boost the business of over 3,000 women entrepreneurs and enable 3,900 young people start financial education training, in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay.
Latin American women entrepreneurs face the biggest barriers to access financial management tools.
Partnering with Pro Mujer and Aliança Emprendedora, Mercado Pago will seek to boost the financial education of over 3,000 women micro-entrepreneurs in the region, to help them develop their business. Today, more than 50% of the existing 7+ million SMEs in the region is led by women. In spite of being drivers of the economy and playing an important role in job creation, Latin American women entrepreneurs face the biggest barriers to access financial management services and tools, which are key enablers of project implementation and development.
Enrollment in the project developed jointly with Pro Mujer will remain open until April 15 for women in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay. On the Emprendre Pro Mujer platform, women entrepreneurs can start their development path whatever the phase their business is in (preincubation, incubation, or acceleration). They can access dynamic contents on financial planning, agile methodologies, sales channels, and financing. In addition, they will form part of a regional network that will increase their networking chances, and will access women mentors and live online classes for ongoing training. Please, register here: emprendepromujer.org/mercadopago.
In collaboration with Junior Achievement Américas, Mercado Pago has also promoted an initiative to train 3,900 16-18 year-old high-school students from public schools in the region on basic financial education, including concepts such as saving, loans, and personal financial planning. This initiative will be implemented on an e-campus, including individual follow-up by the instructors.
Financial education gaps in Latin America
Mercado Pago's initiative is based on financial education research conducted together with Trendsity in five countries across the region (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico), in 2021. The report suggests that the increasing use of digital payment and collection methods is driving interest in different topics associated with the world of finance, along with education, although still 7 out of 10 banked individuals lack basic financial knowledge.
On the other hand, data show a limited participation of women in the region's financial system: 57% of men vs. 51% of women have a bank account; just 10% of women vs. 16% of men can save; and 34% of men vs. 25% of women gave the right answer to 3 out of 4 financial questions.
“The expansion of digital accounts is driving access to financial education because it can overcome the knowledge barrier and act as an entry point to other, more sophisticated concepts. At Mercado Pago, we promote ongoing technological innovations to simplify the use of financial tools, but we understand that there are still many challenges to be solved. In this sense, these financial education projects aim to bridge the financial education gap and help create true inclusion,” said Paula Arregui, COO at Mercado Pago.
“Mercado Pago’s financial education program targets one of the main challenges posed by financial inclusion in Latin America,” added Guadalupe Marín, Sustainability Director at Mercado Libre. “We are persuaded that promoting financial education will enable people to make free and informed decisions about their use of money and how they project themselves into the future.”
“Pro Mujer has been working on the promotion of gender equality in Latin America for more than 30 years. In this sense, it is critical to provide women with tools to reach economic independence. Even though streamlining women micro-entrepreneurs’ access to financial services is a large portion of this challenge, adding training will double the impact, and produce a systemic and sustainable change,” said Carmen Correa, CEO at Pro Mujer.
“Educating our young people to achieve real impact means not only teaching contents in as relevant a manner as possible, but also to teach them on time,” adds Leo Martellotto, President of Junior Achievement Américas. “This is why we feel proud to be part of this partnership with Mercado Pago, which will enable thousands of young people to incorporate personal finance knowledge at an early stage of their lives. They will be able to develop planning skills, and greatly improve their abilities to generate value and resources, both for them and their communities.”
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