Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) run by women – such as clothing stores and hair salons, mini grocery stores and restaurants – are the backbone of many local economies in Brazil.
But they can often struggle to get the finance they need to thrive and grow.
To help meet this need, Brazilian cooperative financial institution Sicredi last year raised $100 million to finance women-led SMEs
The operation was structured by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the funds came from BNP Paribas and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC). It expected to impact between 10,000 and 15,000 female entrepreneurs in Brazil.
Environmental Finance Bond Awards judges praised this unique social loan for the way it targets female-led Brazilian companies and its successful collaboration with IFC.
Chief executive officer of Banco Cooperativo Sicredi César Bochi said: "We hope this initiative will boost many women-led businesses and also generate more economic growth for their communities.
"We are aware of the challenges that women entrepreneurs often face, especially those responsible for micro, small and medium-sized companies, that's why Sicredi seeks to direct resources to this audience.
"As a cooperative financial institution that creates business opportunities and helps its members develop, we hope this initiative has encouraged many women-owned businesses and generated more economic growth for their communities."
This is the second thematic loan Sicredi has developed with IFC – the first was a $120 million credit line for Brazilian solar energy projects.