CALI, Colombia – The Colombian government will place 1.1 billion pesos (about $355,000) in a new fund starting in November to finance entrepreneurial projects headed by women, authorities said on Wednesday.
“The Empodera fund is an initiative that, among other things, has been developed in many countries the world over. For example, the Inter-American Development Bank has begun speaking of empowering women in the area of entrepreneurship,” Colombian Commerce Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo told reporters.
Restrepo, who is participating in the fifth edition of the Heroes Fest innovation festival, said that the initiative arose from an “international entrepreneurship” dynamic that is developing in the world with women as the driving force.
With the project – which will be launched on Nov. 1 and will be administered by INNpulsa, which promotes entrepreneurship, innovation and extraordinary business development – the government aims to “create an entrepreneurial culture and mentality” in Colombia.
To accomplish that, the fund will provide training for women and support for their business ideas, since – according to figures provided by INNpulsa manager Ignacio Gaitan – 70 percent of entrepreneurs are men and a greater “balance” must be achieved.
In addition, Restrepo emphasized the importance of these programs, since – he said – they are in line with the thinking of Colombian President Ivan Duque, who is seeking to spur economic development.
“The country’s future is being built with entrepreneurship and training for innovation ... Entrepreneurship must be supported in all phases,” he said.
The Heroes Fest festival, the second most important of its kind in Latin America and the most important in Colombia, will run until Thursday in Cali and its conferences and workshops will be attended by more than 3,000 people.
The United States is the guest of honor at the event and Nathalia Olson-Urtecho, the former White House innovation adviser, will be among the panel discussion members.