WeXchange launches Annual Competition for Women Entrepreneurs in STEM


IDB Lab , the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) group, has announced the launch of its eight edition of WeXchange, the largest forum that connects Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) women entrepreneurs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) with investors and mentors.

This year’s WeXchange edition will feature an expanded version of the annual pitch competition, called Women STEMpreneurs Competition, where the most innovative and dynamic STEM-based companies in LAC will be rewarded with a potential access to financing. Participating companies must have at least one woman in the founding team, with a strong component of technology and innovation, and possess a potential to scale and achieve social and/or environmental impact in Latin America and the Caribbean.  This year’s competition will feature two categories. The first one is Seed stage, for startups with a minimum viable product (MVP) and initial market traction; and the second one is Pre-Series A and Series A/B, for startups with a validated product- market fit who are considering scaling their operations at a regional or global level.

Six finalists of each category will be selected to pitch in front a jury of international investors during the WeXchange forum. IDB Lab will select a finalist of the Series A/B category to be considered for an investment opportunity of up to USD1 million (equity investment, SAFE, convertible note or debt), while 500 Startups LatAm will select two finalists of the Seed category, who will access a fast-track selection process for participation in their acceleration and seed capital investment program. The finalists from both categories will also have premium access to renowned venture capital funds in the region including  ALLVP Carao Ventures Cometa Dila Capital Magma Partners Maya Capital NXTP Ventures and Vulcano to be considered for a potential investment due diligence process.

The Women STEMpreneurs Competition is organized by the venture capital fund Angel Ventures.  Entrepreneurs will be able to apply through this link until August 23.

This year’s forum, made possible by Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), will take place virtually on November 10, 11 and 12. During the event, participating entrepreneurs will have access to mentoring sessions, training, inspirational talks, and networking opportunities with potential investors.

The winner of the 2019 Pitch Competition was Vicky Ricaurte, a Colombian entrepreneur and co-founder of Arukay, an  EdTech company that developed Learning System, a program that teaches STEAM contents to K-12 students trough coding activities.

About IDB Lab
IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, the main source of financing and knowledge for development, focused on improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). The purpose of IDB Lab is to drive innovation for inclusion in the region, mobilizing financing, knowledge and connections to co-create solutions capable of transforming the lives of vulnerable populations due to economic, social or environmental conditions. Since 1993, IDB Lab has approved more than $2 billion in projects developed in 26 LAC countries, including investments in more than 90 venture capital funds.

About Angel Ventures
Angel Ventures is a venture capital firm focused on early stage investments with high growth potential in the Pacific Alliance (Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Perú). AV started in 2008 as the first professionally managed Angel Investor Network, which later evolved into four Venture Capital Funds, the Angel Ventures Co-investment Fund I in 2013, AVP Seed Fund I in 2017, the AV Pacific Alliance Fund II in 2018 and Carabela Seed Fund I in 2020. Today Angel Ventures is a regional firm with four chapters across three countries, having invested in nearly 30 companies, including Clip, Kueski, Urbvan, Homie, and Emptor.

About We-Fi
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) is the first multilateral fund specifically designed to unleash the potential of women entrepreneurs in emerging economies. We-Fi funds projects that work across the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, including blended finance investments, capacity building for institutions and women entrepreneurs, and policy reforms to increase women’s access to finance, markets, and networks. We-Fi is a collaborative partnership among 14 contributing governments and 7 multilateral development banks (MDBs) that serve as implementing partners It engages with a broad range of external partners, including private sector clients and partners, NGOs, government and international entities.

Source : IDB News