IDB Invest finances BHD León to support women-led small and medium enterprises in the Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic—IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, has granted a loan in local currency (RD$) for the equivalent of $50 million to Banco Múltiple BHD León, S.A. The operation is aimed at financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Dominican Republic, with a specific focus on those that are led by women.

The first issuance of the financing, which amounts to RD$500 million, will allow BHD León to grant 400 loans to SMEs, of which at least 40 percent will be for women-owned or led companies. The objective is to facilitate access to funds with better payment conditions, contribute to the female business sector and favor the reduction of the credit access gap, which affects women entrepreneurs to a greater extent.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, approximately 40 percent of SMEs are wholly or partially owned by women. In Dominican Republic, that figure only reaches 21 percent in joint ownership and 14 percent in women-only property. One of the factors that makes it difficult for these companies to start up is the lack of access to capital.

The operation is the first in which IDB Invest uses its local currency loan capacity to fund a transaction in the Dominican Republic. This action increases the availability of medium-term financing, in local currency and for the private sector in the country. The operation with BHD León is part of the IDB Invest strategy to contribute to the development of capital markets in the region and, at the same time, contributes to the economic development of the country with solutions tailored to the needs of customers.

This operation potentially contributes to four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Gender equality (SDG 5), Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9) and Inequality reduction (SDG 10).

The operation includes a non-refundable technical assistance from IDB Invest. This assistance supports BHD León in its effort to consolidate itself as a market and model leader, not only in loans aimed at women, but also in promoting gender equity at the corporate level. IDB Invest advisory services will work with BHD León so that it can achieve the international certification of gender equality Economic Dividend for Gender Equality (EDGE). It is the first IDB Invest project that incorporates support for a bank to acquire this certification, a leader in gender equality and based on a business process and global assessment methodology. BHD León will be the fourth financial institution in Latin America and the Caribbean that will have this certification.

The operation was formalized during the celebration of the Foromic 2019 event in Punta Cana. This is an annual meeting organized by the IDB Group with the aim of presenting trends, developing connections and doing business in the area  of financial inclusion.

About IDB Invest
IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to promoting the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector. IDB Invest finances sustainable enterprises and projects to achieve financial results that maximize economic, social and environmental development for the region. With a portfolio of assets of $12.1 billion under management and 329 clients in 21 countries, IDB Invest works across sectors to provide innovative financial solutions and advisory services that meet the needs of its clients.

About BHD León
Founded in 1972, Banco BHD León has been a precursor to important changes in the Dominican financial sector. He is a pioneer in establishing a gender strategy, focused on the development of a commercial proposal aimed at women that responds to these needs and on the delivery of a proposal of non-financial value that contributes to their well-being. Likewise, with an internal practice of gender equity that this year deserved the first certification of the Igualando RD Seal, granted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Ministry of Women. As a social component, it holds the Women that Change the World Award every year, a recognition of women who work for the positive change of Dominican society