Changing the Future for Women Entrepreneurs in Paraguay
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Women-owned small and micro enterprises at the base of the pyramid (BOP) account for nearly 20 percent of businesses in Paraguay, yet they generally cannot access credit because they lack documentation to prove their repayment capacity or collateral such as a property title, which is usually in the name of the man of the household. The problem is particularly acute in rural areas, where women in traditional families do not generally make investment decisions, lack the technical knowledge about the capital needs of their business or how to apply for a loan, and operate informally and thus have limited productivity and little access to formal financing. Founded in 1978, Grupo Internacional de Finanzas SAECA (INTERFISA) is a Paraguayan financial institution that specializes in providing financial products to low-income populations and micro, small and medium-size enterprises. INTERFISA has worked in both urban and rural settings since 1995, and in 2012 the institution adopted microfinance technologies directed toward financial inclusion of women. INTERFISA has a national presence with 45 branches countrywide.