Economy December 14, 2023 | 8:23 am

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$250 million boost for Women-Led SMEs in Dominican Republic by top banks

New York.- The Dominican Popular Bank (Banco Popular) has partnered with the United States International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and Banco Santander in a significant financial collaboration. They have signed an agreement to support the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Dominican Republic, particularly those led by women or those focusing on sustainability initiatives, with a funding pool of US$250 million.

This substantial amount, to be disbursed through Banco Popular, is aimed at offering preferential rates to Dominican SMEs. These businesses will have a repayment period of up to 7 years. Banco Santander, through its Export & Agency Finance team in New York, played a key role in structuring and coordinating this operation.

The financial structure of the loan comprises US$200 million from DFC, while the remaining funds are contributed by Banco Popular and Banco Santander.

Eligibility for these loans is quite specific, targeting SMEs engaged in sustainability and complying with the criteria of the “2X Women” initiative. This includes businesses with at least 51% female ownership, those founded or actively managed by women, SMEs with significant female representation in senior management or board positions, and businesses whose workforce is predominantly female and who actively address female employment quality issues. Additionally, SMEs offering products or services that significantly benefit women are also eligible.

The agreement was formalized at the Torre Popular, with Christopher Paniagua of Banco Popular, Scott Nathan of the DFC, and Jean-Baptiste Piette of Banco Santander, New York, leading the ceremony. Paniagua emphasized Banco Popular’s commitment to gender equality and creating opportunities for women.

To facilitate the utilization of these funds, Banco Popular has established “Impulsa Popular” for the growth of SMEs and “Emprende Mujer,” a support platform for female entrepreneurship, offering financial products, training, and psychological support services.

DFC, as part of this agreement, continues its mission to finance solutions in various sectors like energy, healthcare, and small businesses, adhering to high standards and respecting environmental, human, and labor rights. Meanwhile, Santander Corporate & Investment Banking supports corporate and institutional clients with services and products that contribute to societal progress while upholding responsible banking principles.

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