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IFC and Itaú Unibanco partner to improve financial education for women entrepreneurs in Brazil


IFC, São Paulo
Patricia Carvalho
Phone: (55 11) 5185-6873 / E-mail: pcarvalho@ifc.org

Itaú Unibanco
Corporate Communications
Phone: (11) 5019-8880 / E-mail: imprensa@itau-unibanco.com.br
Textual Comunicação  (PR Agency)
Phone: (11) 5180-6937 / E-mail: itau@textual.com.br

São Paulo, March 27, 2018 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will support Banco Itaú Unibanco, one of the largest private financial institutions in Brazil, to create a financial education digital course for women entrepreneurs. This initiative will become one of the cornerstones of Itaú Mulher Empreendedora, a capacity building program designed to inspire, connect, and enable women entrepreneurs in their professional journeys.

IFC and Itaú will work to design and implement an eLearning video course directed to women entrepreneurs - owners or shareholders of businesses of all types and in any stage of maturity-  in partnership with EduK, one of the largest online learning platforms in Latin America. The content of the course will include methodologies to evaluate the profitability of businesses as well as classes on growth strategies and techniques, and financial management. Eight thousand female entrepreneurs are expected to take the eLearning video course in the first year of its launch. The digitalization of Itaú Mulher Empreendedora’s existing services portfolio is key to allow the program to reach more female entrepreneurs while they develop their businesses.

This is IFC’s second advisory engagement with Itaú Unibanco; it comes as a continuation of the technical assistance signed in 2013, which supported Itaú in launching Itaú Mulher Empreendedora. That same year, Itaú Unibanco was also the recipient of IFC’s first investment in Latin America under its Banking on Women Program; IFC invested $470 million in Itaú to support the expansion of its women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) program. Since then, around 70,000 loans have been granted by the bank under that program.

Women represent half of the world’s population and own more than 40 percent of businesses registered in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a World Bank-IFC Enterprise survey. Strengthening women’s roles as leaders and entrepreneurs has the potential to transform entire economies and societies. However, low financial access and self-esteem remain challenges that must be overcome for many women throughout the region.

“Gender equality is at the center of the development agenda in Brazil, and thus a critical part of IFC’s strategy to expand opportunities and inclusion in the country,” said Ramiro Garcia, IFC’s Head of Financial Institutions for Brazil and the Southern Cone. “We are very pleased to be working with Itaú in this long-standing partnership that is helping to support gender equality while also fostering the SMEs sector and the whole entrepreneurship environment in Brazil,” he added.

“Working with female entrepreneurship is well aligned with Itaú’s strategy; it supports the sustainable development of our business and of the country, and brings social benefits in addition to economic gains”, said Denise Hills, Itaú-Unibanco’s superintendent of sustainability and inclusive business. “The partnership with IFC in this online course allows women to gain access to educational content in a very flexible way as the training can be taken from any place, at any time and at their own pace, ensuring higher dedication and better results,” she added.

IFC’s support for Itaú Unibanco is part of the World Bank Group’s Gender Strategy, which was developed in consultation with stakeholders from governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector in over 22 countries. As part of that strategy, IFC launched the Banking on Women program, which is already playing a catalytic role in helping financial institutions meet the needs of women entrepreneurs in a sustainable and profitable way. The program has committed 40 investments globally, totaling around $1.22 billion, and undertaken 30 advisory projects since its launch in 2010.

About IFC

IFC --a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group-- is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Itaú Unibanco
With a history of more than 90 years, Itaú Unibanco is the largest private sector bank in Latin America. The bank is present in 19 countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, employing 96 thousand people. It has an expanded service network made up of more than four thousand branches and banking services outlets and 46 thousand ATMs nationwide, serving both individual and corporate clients in all segments. In addition, Itaú’s objective is to become an increasingly digitalized institution – presently, 73% of its transactions are conducted through digital channels, 50% of these through smartphones. Itaú’s vision is to be a leading bank in sustainable performance and customer satisfaction. Its purpose is to promote positive changes in the lives of people and in the society as whole. The bank offers products and services that meet the clients’ needs, reflecting continuous efforts in providing the best experience to all those who interact with it daily. The bank’s equities are traded on the São Paulo, New York and Buenos Aires stock exchanges, while the institution has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for 18 consecutive years. For more information, visit http://www.itau.com.br

About Itaú Mulher Empreendedora
Aiming at becoming a leader in sustainable performance and customer satisfaction, Itaú Unibanco has been developing in recent years several actions and participated in initiatives to contribute to the country’s social and economic development through the empowerment of women. In 2013, Itaú Unibanco created the Itaú Mulher Empreendedora program, which seeks to support women entrepreneurs through training, inspiration and connections. Today, there are more than 7,300 participants in the program, from all over the country. The program provides free videos, articles and tools published on its website, focusing on several topics such as management, finance, marketing, innovation and news, as well as stories that inspire and reveal the motivations, challenges and best practices of women at the forefront of their business. The Bank also promotes face-to-face meetings to foster partnerships, networking, sales and purchases among entrepreneurs from different segments. For more information, visit http://imulherempreendedora.com.br

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