Although there are many options, choosing the best one for your business will depend on knowing what they are and what each one offers and is looking for. During your search, keep in mind the objective for which you require the funds, the moment of evolution of your company and the resources you have available.
The most common options are banking institutions, among them:
- Commercial banks
- Development banks
You can also turn to non-bank financial entities, such as cooperatives, financial institutions or technological financial services (fintech).
Although there are multiple banking institutions in the financial systems of the countries of the region, consider that if you are just starting your business, it is likely that obtaining resources from these types of entities will be more difficult, due to lack of credit history.
If this is your case, another option may be private capital. Consider among these sources especially friends, family, and angel investors.
If your company is in a growth phase, you can explore options such as venture capital and strategic investors.
Keep in mind that private equity will be looking for a return on their investment, so they will bet on companies with high growth potential and a proven business model. In addition, each private equity source has its own criteria to measure the return on its investment.
Before starting the search for resources, we recommend you to make an evaluation map of the possible sources of financing, identify the requirements of each one, their associated costs and what they are looking for. This will help you not only to know which ones are best suited to your business profile, but also to adjust your message when approaching each one of them.
A comprehensive list of financing options for SMEs and resources to help you in your search is available in this guide that we have prepared at ConnectAmericas.
Opportunities in the region
Given that for women entrepreneurs there is an invisible barrier, based on gender bias, that can limit their possibilities of accessing traditional financing entities, it is important to be aware of all the options available, but above all to take advantage of those focused or specialized in supporting projects led by women.
For example, the Centro Regional de Promoción de la MiPyME (Cenpromype) has different financial solutions programs focused on women entrepreneurs in the Central American region. Learn more about them here.
In the Caribbean, the regional trade promotion agency Caribbean Export offers financing solutions for companies in the region and in 2018 launched the We-Xport program to support Caribbean women entrepreneurs in their export processes.
In countries such as Mexico, there are several options, such as the Training Program for Women Entrepreneurs of the Mexican Association of Entrepreneurs and the Crezcamos Juntas program of Nacional Financiera, a development banking institution.
The Mexican federal government also has a program focused on MSMEs led by women called Mujeres PyME, while at the local level several states have similar projects, such as this one in the country's capital.
Chile also has financing programs focused on women entrepreneurs, such as CreceMujer of its state bank or Capital Abeja Emprende, which supports women who want to start their own business. There is also the Fondo Esperanza, which provides microfinancing for entrepreneurship.
In Ecuador you can find Banco Pichincha's SER program, while Colombia has several programs, such as Fondo Mujer Emprende, Núcleo E Fondo Mujer Emprende and Mujeres Empresarias-Fondo Mujer Emprende.
If you want to know what other options exist in your country, we suggest you use the Financiate tool. It is a search engine on the ConnectAmericas platform, which contains aggregated information by country of the banks that offer loans for SMEs, as well as the different financial services available.
For its members, ConnectAmericas offers, in addition to a complete list of partner banks by country, information to internationalize your business according to the sector in which you operate and a system to directly send your company's requirements to the partner banks. You can open your account here, it's easy, fast and free of charge.