To jumpstart financing for women-owned MSMEs in Ecuador, MicroVest announced an investment in Fundacion Espoir, an NGO specializing in microfinance loans and financial education for underserved female microentrepreneurs and small business owners.
MicroVest’s $2 million investment will support Espoir’s efforts to finance women-owned and operated MSMES in an attempt to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, foster employment, and promote the equal integration of women into the economy.
Ecuador was one of the hardest hit countries in Latin America during the pandemic, which compounded already existing economic difficulties. The country’s unemployment rate hit 6.6% in September 2021, almost twice its rate from December 2019. The poverty level increased six percentage points to nearly 49 percent of the population (UNICEF). The drop in employment due to the pandemic was especially pronounced in the informal sector and among women (IADB).
Fundacion Espoir provides both individual and group loans (village banking). The company also offers access to a low cost ($2.89 per month) health insurance package that includes primary health care for the borrower’s families as well as life and credit insurance throughout the duration of the loan.
This is MicroVest’s eighth loan cycle with the company.