LATAM Transformed: Five Women Leading Innovation


LATAM Transformed: Five Women Leading Innovation

Seedstars Global

MARCH 25, 2024

As Women's Month continues, Seedstars highlights the remarkable stories of five Latin American women entrepreneurs defying conventions in a male-dominated ecosystem.



Despite progress in financial inclusion, with 73% of Latin American (World Bank) adults having access by 2021, women remain 7 percentage points less likely than men to own accounts. These gender disparities extend to credit, savings, and financial resilience. On top of that, migrants also face obstacles, for example, 1.5 million Venezuelan migrants and refugees in Peru encounter differential treatment and trust issues in accessing financial services (World Bank).

In this feature, we highlight five women who are transforming the region's fintech landscape and empowering communities through their ventures.

Remittances at Lightning Speed for Migrant Families


Carla Leal, Co-Founder Tu Cambio (Chile), Seedstars Program: CAF Financial Inclusion Lab LIF, Digital Solutions for Migration 2023-2024.

As a migrant herself, Carla Leal's entrepreneurial journey began with her move to Chile, where she immersed herself in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. Her frustration with the inefficiencies of traditional money transfer methods sparked the creation of Tu Cambio, a platform that streamlines cross-border money transfers.

"I needed to transfer money for my grandmother's medicines in Venezuela, but sending even a small amount abroad took days to process," Carla recalls. "I needed those funds to arrive immediately." Through Tu Cambio, migrants can now send money abroad within an hour, powered by innovative algorithms. The platform has positively impacted over 5,000 migrant families, promoting financial inclusion in Chile and the U.S., with plans to expand to Peru.

"Nothing is too far when you are a migrant, we have the unique opportunity for a new beginning without mental barriers," Carla reflects on her resilience. On building financial bridges, we now look at how one entrepreneur addresses the unique needs within the gig economy.

Building a Community for Women's Empowerment


Nataly Vinueza, CEO Warmi (Ecuador), Seedstars Program: CAF Financial Inclusion Lab LIF, Digital Solutions for Women and Gender Equity.

Nathaly Vinueza founded Warmi to address the systemic barriers hindering women from reaching their full potential - from self-censorship in seeking leadership roles to overcoming personal and societal limitations. "Not doing so will continue to perpetuate gender inequality and have a significant impact on women's health, well-being, and their full participation in society," Nathaly explains.

Nathaly's vision for the next 5 years is ambitious - to empower 21.8 million women across Latin America to become "agents of change" driving gender equity. The community model generates a multiplier effect, fostering strong and innovative female leaders who create scalable solutions to social challenges.

"An entrepreneurial mindset can be a powerful force for positive change," Nathaly affirms. By combining economic empowerment with community support, Warmi aims to inspire purpose-driven businesses benefiting communities through sustainable, profitable models.

Unlocking Credit for the Gig Economy


Josefina Cafferata, Co-Founder and CBDO at Uils (Argentina), Seedstars Program: Krealo Future of Financial Services Accelerator Fund 2023.

Josefina Cafferata Leloir, an economist and full-stack developer, embarked on a mission to transform financial inclusion through technology. Recognizing the marginalization of gig economy workers by traditional banking systems, she co-founded Uils, an embedded finance startup that offers financial opportunities to this underserved sector using a unique credit scoring model.

Specializing in digital products, she faced the challenge of bringing banking closer to those underserved by the traditional system. By tailoring financial products to the needs of gig workers, Uils has extended credit to over 2,000 individuals, a testament to Josefina's commitment to bridging the gap in financial inclusion.

Through perseverance and strategic partnerships across Latin America, Josefina has demonstrated that overcoming obstacles is key to driving social and economic change. Uils is an example of how we can democratize access and empower marginalized communities financially. But It’s not just gig workers that need financial empowerment, small businesses also need support.

Banking for the Underbanked, Empowering Small Businesses


Eleonora Mejia, CEO and Cofounder Pagame (Colombia), Seedstars Programs: CAF Financial Inclusion Lab LIF, Digital Solutions for Migration.

Eleonora Mejía Valencia's entrepreneurial journey has been driven by her passion for the impact sector, where profitable business models create positive societal change. With a diverse background spanning various industries, Eleonora co-founded Págame, a platform enabling small entrepreneurs in Colombia to offer banking services like cash withdrawals and money transfers.

"I love to roll up my sleeves and help to row," Eleonora says, reflecting her hands-on approach. Págame's impact extends beyond its services; it's a movement that improves lives by making financial accessibility and convenience a reality for underserved communities.

Technical skills can be developed, technologies and trends change constantly, but when an employee or a key business stakeholder is honest, humble, has a curiosity for learning and has a can-do attitude, as an entrepreneur you can go to sleep every night knowing that anything and everything is possible,” Eleonora shares.

Addressing Financial Exclusion for Migrants and Returnees


Magreth Gutierrez Vargas, Ceo and Co-founder AAvance (Colombia), Seedstars Programs: CAF Financial Inclusion Lab LIF, Digital Solutions for Migration.

Magreth Gutierrez Vargas, a Colombian-Venezuelan financial engineer, experienced the challenges of banking and inclusion faced by migrants and returned populations firsthand. These experiences inspired her to co-found AAvance, a fintech offering comprehensive financial inclusion solutions, including access to banking, financial education, and entrepreneurship support.

After initially working in the food industry, Magreth recognized the difficulties in accessing financial solutions for migrants and returnees. With AAvance, she has impacted over 3,000 people, with a majority being Venezuelan migrants (85%) and women (59%), demonstrating the transformative potential of targeted financial solutions.

Magreth's ability to translate personal experiences into innovative solutions is what allowed AAvance to identify and remove obstacles to financial inclusion that traditional services overlooked.

The impact of these women entrepreneurs extends far beyond financial metrics, catalyzing positive change for underserved communities.

Their stories build upon Seedstars' sustained efforts to empower women entrepreneurs through initiatives like the Women Entrepreneurship for Africa (WE4A) initiative that enhanced over 2,100 women-led businesses and created 5,900 new jobs, or CAF Financial Inclusion Lab focused on digital solutions for women's financial empowerment across Latin America, among other programs.

Join us in celebrating these trailblazing women and supporting the next generation of female fintech leaders. Together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem. To partner with Seedstars in empowering women entrepreneurs and driving meaningful social change, please reach out to us at [email protected]

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