WeXchange Miami conference will connect entrepreneurs from across South Florida and Latin America with $25,000 from Knight Foundation

Garcia Robles of IADB

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WeXchange conference empowers Latin American women entrepreneurs” by Susana Garcia-Robles on Knight Blog

WeXchange empowers women entrepreneurs” by Michael Bolden on KnightBlog

MIAMI — (DEC. 5, 2013) WeXchange, a two-day conference focusing on women entrepreneurs being held in Miami from Dec. 11-12, will bring together entrepreneurs and startup innovators from Miami, Latin America and the Caribbean to share and build new ideas. The event is organized and led by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank, in collaboration with NXTPLabs and Ellas2, with support provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It will be held at The LAB Miami and Miami Dade College.

“As a gateway to the Americas, Miami continues to build on its potential to become a launching ground for big ideas,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director in Miami. “WeXchange capitalizes on the city’s unique position and the importance of attracting a diversity of talent to this emerging ecosystem by connecting up-and-coming entrepreneurs and empowering women in particular to participate.”

WeXchange 2013 invites women innovators and entrepreneurs to apply to attend the inaugural event. The conference will feature Latin America’s first pitch competition focused on women entrepreneurs. It will highlight the impact of women as entrepreneurs, promote them as role models and help expand their networks. Programming for the event includes panels, educational workshops and opportunities for entrepreneurs to consult with mentors. Leading entrepreneurs and investors from the United States and Latin America will guide the sessions.

“We expect this first-time event to attract approximately 120 participants, including entrepreneurs, investors and mentors, as well as government representatives and other key agents of the local and Latin American ecosystems,” said Susana Garcia-Robles, principal investment officer in charge of the Multilateral Investment Fund’s Early-Stage Equity Group. “Our expectation is that WeXchange will become a go-to resource for Latin American women entrepreneurs where they will not only form lasting business relationships with other entrepreneurs and investors, but where they can also obtain funding for their companies.”

Studies conducted by the Multilateral Investment Fund have shown that women entrepreneurs tend to face more challenges than men in the region, mostly due to the lack of strong networks. Additionally, the 2012 Women’s Report conducted by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor stated that women tend to search for advice within their family circles, while men are more likely to seek advice from friends and other network resources. This suggests limitations in accessing capital, as women-owned businesses attract less than 5 percent of venture capital funds worldwide. These differences put women entrepreneurs in Latin America at a disadvantage compared to men considering that the number of women heading companies has been traditionally lower.

Support for WeXchange forms one part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to inform citizens and create new opportunities by strengthening Miami’s emerging community of entrepreneurs, startups and makers.

Please visit http://www.wexchange.co/ for more information and to register.


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, please visit: www.knightfoundation.org.

About Multilateral Investment Fund Member of the IDB Group

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) supports economic growth and poverty reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean through encouraging increased private investment and advancing private sector development. It works with the private sector to develop, finance and execute innovative business models that benefit entrepreneurs, as well as poor and low-income households; partners with a wide variety of institutions from the private, public and nonprofit sectors; evaluates results; and shares lessons learned. The MIF is a laboratory for testing pioneering, market-based approaches to development, and an agent of change that seeks to broaden the reach and deepen the impact of its most successful interventions. For more information, please visit: http://www5.iadb.org/mif/

CONTACT: Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2677, [email protected]