Costa Rica has been ranked sixth in Latin American and the Caribbean for its business support for female owners of micro, small and medium enterprises
The study was commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. The Economist Intelligence Unit, an affiliate of the company that published The Economist, did the study.
The researchers created a new index that is being called Women’s Entrepreneurial VentureScope. Costa Rica generally lags in surveys of its business climate. This study analyzes the factors that promote or hinder the success of women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises and is the first comprehensive and standardized assessment of the region’s enabling environment for women seeking to start and grow businesses, said a news release.
The study examined and scored 20 countries in the five areas that most affect women’s entrepreneurship: business operating risks, including macroeconomic risks, security, and corruption; the entrepreneurial business environment, including costs and regulatory requirements associated with starting businesses; access to finance, including the availability and use of formal financial products by women; capacity and skills, including educational advancement by women and availability of business skills training; and social services, including the availability of family support programs such as childcare, said the development bank..
Costa Rica ranked high for stability and capacity, which is the assessment of the level of training by the women in the country.
The country ranked sixth in all the index categories. Said the development bank: “Costa Rica, at number six, was the highest rated Central American country, thanks to its low business operating risks and availability of capacity and skills training for businesswomen. Trinidad and Tobago, at number eight, was the highest-rated Caribbean country, owing to its high education levels and good access to finance for women entrepreneurs.”
Overall, the study found that Latin America and the Caribbean score relatively well for educational and business training opportunities for women; in nearly all countries, more than 50 percent of post-secondary education graduates are women, and more than half of the countries analyzed offer access to business networks, said the bank, adding that at the same time, women’s access to personal and business finance is relatively poor in the region. In the majority of countries studied, less than a third of women had saved money in a financial institution within the past year, and banks finance only about 20 percent of their business needs, it said.
The bank also said:
Chile received the region’s highest overall ranking, for its low macroeconomic risk, strong supplier diversity initiatives, and social service offerings. Peru, with robust business networks and technical support programs for small and medium enterprises, ranked a close second. Colombia rounds out the top three for its well-developed small business training programs and broad access to university-level education for women.
Within the five categories analyzed, several other countries demonstrated outstanding performance. El Salvador offers strong support for entrepreneurs, particularly through a favorable tax system. Women in Mexico enjoy some of the best access to finance in the region. Brazil performs