December 11, 2014
This has been a week of good news.
We officially launched TaroWorks 3.0, our largest ever release, with an in-depth webinar going over all the our new features. Check out this link to watch the video if you couldn’t make it to the webinar.
As if that wasn’t enough, we’re incredibly pleased to announce that Oxfam America is the latest organisation to join the TaroWorks community.
At this point, I’m going to hand this post over to Miranda Clarke, WISE advisor at Oxfam America. What does WISE stand for? Keep reading…
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the gender distribution of land ownership is extremely unequal, with male farmers representing 70–90% of formal land ownership. This inequality in ownership is mainly due to male preference in inheritance as well as gender bias in state-sponsored programs of land redistribution. This has profound impacts on the ability of women to meet bank collateral requirements.
Through the Women in Small Enterprise (WISE) initiative in Guatemala, Oxfam serves in its traditional role of supporting collaboration between the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and government leaders as they advance positive social change. WISE is designed for women emerging from microfinance lending programs with businesses that show potential for further growth. These women often are not able to access growth capital as they fall into the “missing middle” financing gap: the gap for loans larger than those offered by microfinance institutions and smaller than loans considered by mainstream banking institutions.
A core component of the initiative is the newly created WISE Fund, which will support loans to women entrepreneurs in partnership with local banking institutions. WISE capitalizes on Oxfam’s ability to bring together partners to develop an “ecosystem that works towards:
- Ensuring women entrepreneurs have sustainable access to appropriate finance;
- Enhancing business skills that result in improved business performance;
- Empowering women to engage in legal, social and political spheres at individual, household and community levels;
- Changing public perception of women entrepreneurs; and
- Developing a more supportive policy environment.
Using TaroWorks, Oxfam plans to develop an ICT monitoring system that will collect data from the entrepreneurs we work with, about the businesses that they run, and the impact of our training and business coaching on both the women and their businesses. We will also collect data from the banks that provide loans to the women using the WISE Fund as collateral. Using these data, we will demonstrate that in Guatemala the decision to invest in women-run enterprises is not as risky as is currently perceived—in fact the decision not to invest is shortsighted given the untapped potential of women business leaders. Once banks give women a chance, their performance will exceed expectations, eventually extinguishing the need for the credit guarantee.”
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