Banco Prodem of Bolivia, Microempresas de Colombia, and Bicla Diseño of Chile are the winners of this year's Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation for their excellent work in support of financial inclusion, single-purpose savings products, and entrepreneurial spirit, respectively, in Latin America and the Caribbean. These prizes are awarded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group and administered by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).
The awards ceremony will be held on October 26 during the opening ceremony of Foromic 2015, the region’s main event for issues related to microfinance and businesses. This year, Foromic will be held in Santiago, Chile from October 26 to 28 with the theme of "The Future of Financial Inclusion."
IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and senior officials from the Government of Chile will participate.
The award in the "Financial Inclusion" category recognizes innovative and efficient institutions that provide financial services to poor and low-income populations. This year’s winner was selected through an analysis of its financial performance, its innovative efforts to reach a significant number of customers, and the quality and use of its products and channels.
Banco Prodem of Bolivia won the 2015 Award for Financial Inclusion for providing financial services to poor and low-income populations. It distinguished itself for its focus on working in rural areas, its use of technology to reach underserved populations, and its provision of microinsurance. Prodem has been working in microfinance for 25 years and has been a regulated financial institution in Bolivia for more than 15 years.
The institution has pioneered the rural installation of “Smart ATMs,” which have a multimedia system and can communicate with users in three local languages (Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani), Spanish, and English.
The smart card used in these machines is the first in the country to use microchips and fingerprints as security measures. Prodem, with support from Nacional Vida Seguros, provides affordable life and property insurance policies. It currently it has more than 80,000 active microinsurance policies through its ProdemVida and Prodem Bienes products.
The award in the "Best Savings Product with a Purpose" category recognizes financial institutions that offer savings products with a specific purpose and that have been innovative and successful among traditionally underserved populations. Special consideration is given to savings products intended for the purchase or improvement of housing, retirement savings, education savings, and savings for entrepreneurship, health, and other household needs.
Microempresas de Colombia, a savings and credit union, won the 2015 award for Best Savings Product with a Purpose for its two multipurpose programmed savings products: Ahorro Capitalización and Ahorro Semilla Cooperativa (“Capital Savings” and “Cooperative Seed Savings”). These products are designed for entrepreneurs and low-income people, with an emphasis on women and poor rural populations. The cooperative has a large presence in rural Antioquia -- 54 percent of its customers are women, 74 percent are rural, and 86 percent are microentrepreneurs.
Two additional institutions in the category of Best Savings Product with a Purpose received honorable mentions: Banco del Estado de Chile for its successful integration of public policies into its Ahorro Vivienda (“Home Savings”) product and Financiera Credinka of Peru for its Warmicuna Huchuy Qolqeta Waqaychana (“Microsavings for Women”) product, which is intended for women in rural, hard-to-reach areas and provides support in the Quechua language.
The Local Microenterprise Award, presented in coordination with the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism of Chile, recognizes the efforts of entrepreneurs who lead successful and sustainable enterprises in the country.
The award is given this year to entrepreneurs Francisco Naranjo Lobos and Victoria Martínez, co-founders of Bicla Diseño, a company that specializes in the design and production of saddlebags and bicycle accessories.
Foromic is organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, with support from the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism of Chile. The Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation was organized by the IDB and the MIF and the Local Microenterprise Award was developed and selected by the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism of Chile.
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