IFC and Microsoft partner to foster female entrepreneurship and opportunities for forcibly displaced populations in Brazil

IFChttps://pressroom.ifc.org/all/pages/PressDetail.aspx?ID=26160

Sao Paulo, Brazil, January 18, 2021 – Microsoft Participações is joining the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets and a member of the World Bank Group, to boost female entrepreneurship and training and employability for forcibly displaced populations in Brazil.

The partnership involves three complementary efforts: a public workshop to discuss how to address Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concepts in technology companies and startups at an early stage; a technical training program for female entrepreneurs, and the promotion of technological qualifications for forcibly displaced populations, aiming to insert them into the Brazilian labor market.
 
The workshop will take place on January 26th and will be open to the public, through the Microsoft Reactor platform. With the participation of experts from IFC in the areas of E&S and Corporate Governance, the event will encourage people to think about ESG issues, which, more than a market trend, are a change in mindset that will shape the future of business.
 
Within the scope of the second stage of the partnership, from March to November 2021, IFC experts will provide a training program for the female leaders of the WE Ventures fund investees, an initiative by Women Entrepreneurship (WE), a project created by Microsoft Participações in partnership with Sebrae Nacional and M8 Partners (in association with Bertha Capital). The workshops will transmit technical knowledge and encourage the exchange of experiences to improve the business model and further expand the startups’ future fundraising opportunities. Support materials will also be shared and the interaction between female entrepreneurs, the IFC team, and their guest speakers will be encouraged. Female entrepreneurs will be able to join the sessions by registering on the Microsoft Reactor platform. Additionally, technology and innovation startups led by women interested in being part of WE Ventures will be able to join the selection calls hosted from time to time on the fund’s website.

“Supporting the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises and female entrepreneurship is key to IFC’s strategy to boost inclusive economic growth in Brazil,” says Carlos Leiria Pinto, IFC’s Country Manager in Brazil. “This partnership with Microsoft is a welcome opportunity to move forward in the development of these sectors, and shows that gender diversity and the strengthening of female leadership are important drivers of sustainable business,” he adds.
 
“Encouraging female entrepreneurship in the country has been the purpose of WE Ventures since its inception in November 2019. There is a gap in the number of female entrepreneurs in the country compared to the number of men, and it is important to look at this scenario. Through the partnership with IFC, we will take another step towards social and economic change, enabling women, especially in the technology sector, a segment historically dominated by men, to gain more opportunities,” says Franklin M. Luz Jr., vice president of Innovation, Transformation and New Business at Microsoft Brazil.
 
Another purpose of the partnership is to increase opportunities for forcibly displaced populations in the Brazilian labor market, especially in the technology sector. The program aims to increase employment opportunities through the development of a set of skills relevant in the tech sector. The training courses supported by IFC and Microsoft will be made available through Microsoft’s learning platforms. Moreinformation will be released soon.

The partnership with IFC is another initiative under the Mais WE program, which will include  investments in different areas of the economy, such as technology, health, education, insurance, law, and sustainability. Mais WE is part of Microsoft’s commitment to foster diversity and Inclusion through technology and integration into the Microsoft Mais Brasil plan, launched by the company in October, including initiatives to support and commit to sustainable economic development and sustainability, professional qualification, and job opportunity programs in the country, in addition to expanding Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure in Brazil.
 
IFC has been investing in Brazil’s private sector since 1957 to address the country’s most critical development challenges, including those of urbanization, social inclusion, competitiveness and productivity, and management of natural resource. In the fiscal year 2020,  IFC’s new long-term investments in Brazil, across all sectors, totaled $ 2.2 billion, including $ 615 million in third-party resources.
 
About IFC
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Microsoft
Microsoft enables digital transformation in the era of the smart cloud and smart frontier. Its mission is to empower every person and each organization on the planet to achieve more. The company has been in Brazil for 31 years and is one of 120 subsidiaries of Microsoft Corporation, founded in 1975. In 2019, the company invested more than R$ 48 million, bringing technology for free to 2.038 NGOs in Brazil, benefiting several social projects. Since 2011, Microsoft has supported more than 7.100 startups in Brazil through donations of more than US$200 million in cloud credits.

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