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Letter from Inez: August 2013

Tuesday 13th August 2013

GBA Newsletter

As the Alliance’s expansion continues in the all-important Latin American market, we are pleased this month to profile our newest member, Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco, and to feature WEVentureScope, a new index measuring the business environment for Latin American/Caribbean (LAC) women. The LAC region boasts one of the fastest-growing rates of women’s entrepreneurship in the world, and Brazil’s Itaú is the largest private-sector bank in that region’s largest country. We are excited to have Itaú join the Alliance and look forward to officially welcoming them and our other new members when we are all together in Istanbul.

On July 25, it was my pleasure to serve as a panelist at the launch event in Washington for WEVentureScope, the new index produced by the Economist Intelligence Unit under commission by the Multilateral Investment Fund. In reviewing the index’s findings, I was struck once again by the importance of data to everything the Alliance exists to do.

We know there is a strong positive correlation between women’s participation as business owners and GDP growth. The WEVentureScope data shows how national factors support (or don’t) women’s entrepreneurship so that all stakeholders understand what must be done to create stronger enabling environments. Most significantly, the WEVentureScope data shows that the biggest constraint for women entrepreneurs in LAC is access to finance.

This is where the Alliance comes in — by harnessing our members know-how, supporting new members’ program development, defining common performance metrics, and most importantly, by demonstrating the business case so that others will follow our lead.

Latin America/Caribbean is an exciting proving ground for the Alliance’s work given the dramatic ascendancy of women throughout the region and its general economic expansion. But we will also be seeing many new faces from other regions in Istanbul in September. We continue to add new members at an average rate of one per month and I am pleased to report that despite the unfortunate postponement of our Summit necessitated by the June protests in Istanbul, excitement and confirmed attendance remain high.

Finally, in partnership with McKinsey & Company, we have been hard at work on a new strategic plan for the Alliance. I am grateful to McKinsey for its pro bono expertise, to Royal Bank of Scotland and Westpac, both of whose longstanding ties with McKinsey helped secure those services, and to the Alliance members who have already provided valuable inputs. The McKinsey team will be with us during the Members Only day in Istanbul where we will all have the opportunity to shape our strategy and guide us toward our vision of a network of more than 100 banks-of-choice serving the global female economy.

See you in Istanbul in September.

Inez Murray, Chief Executive Officer
Global Banking Alliance for Women