Chile, Peru and Colombia Offer Best Environments for Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This article is cross-posted from the Inter-American Development Bank.

New index from the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund, scores 20 countries on their support for female owners of micro, small and medium enterprises.

Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay provide the best environments for female entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Women’s Entrepreneurial VentureScope (WEVentureScope), a new index released today by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Overall, the WEVentureScope finds that Latin America and the Caribbean score relatively well for educational and business training opportunities for women; in nearly all countries, more than 50 percent of post-secondary education graduates are women, and more than half of the countries analyzed offer access to business networks. At the same time, women’s access to personal and business finance is relatively poor in the region. In the majority of countries studied, less than a third of women had saved money in a financial institution within the past year, and banks finance only about 20 percent of their business needs.

Chile received the region’s highest overall ranking, for its low macroeconomic risk, strong supplier diversity initiatives, and social service offerings. Peru, with robust business networks and technical support programs for SMEs, ranked a close second. Colombia rounds out the top three for its well-developed SME training programs and broad access to university-level education for women.

Within the five categories analyzed, several other countries demonstrated outstanding performance. El Salvador offers strong support for entrepreneurs, particularly through a favorable tax system. Women in Mexico enjoy some of the best access to finance in the region. Brazil performs well in measures of childcare and elderly care.

Costa Rica, at number six, was the highest rated Central American country, thanks to its low business operating risks and availability of capacity and skills training for businesswomen. Trinidad and Tobago, at number eight, was the highest-rated Caribbean country, owing to its high education levels and good access to finance for women entrepreneurs.

The WEVentureScope report is accompanied by an online tool available at, which provides an interactive platform to explore the data by country, category, and indicator, and allows index scores to be compared to other key development indicators.