Congratulations to the winners!

The MIF’s Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEempower) initiative and NEXSO are pleased to announce the winners of the Mentoring for Women Entrepreneurs Challenge.

First place: “Sharing knowledge across the globe through online mentoring,” Cherie Blair Foundation for Women – UK

Second place: “Company Builder,” Sistema B – Chile

The winning organization will have the opportunity to apply its mentoring program in a MIF-funded project in Latin America and/or the Caribbean. In addition, one person from the winning organization will attend an event sponsored by the MIF related to entrepreneurship, mentoring, and/or networking.

The second-place winner will receive an invitation for one person to attend the same event.

We celebrate the winning programs’ innovations in creating powerful tools for developing the leadership skills and impact of women entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean.


How to Participate

To enter, an organization must complete an online form, available through NEXSO’s Mentoring for Women Entrepreneurs page.

Completed online forms can be submitted through NEXSO until Tuesday April 28th 2015 at 5 pm (Washington DC, USA time).

Please read the FAQ section if you have any questions.

For further inquiries, please contact us through

Participation is free.

An institution may submit more than one solution. All entries must be submitted through the NEXSO platform, accept the terms of use, and be completed by the deadline.

For the registration to be valid, all the fields in the online form must be completed.

The submission of an entry reflects the applicant’s acceptance of all conditions, standards, and requirements stated here. By submitting a Solution you are approving the publication of the idea or solution on the NEXSO platform.


  • Launch: Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
  • Entry Period: 1 month
  • Entry Close: Tuesday, April 28th, 2015
  • Judges’ Panel Selection: Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
  • Winners Announced: Thursday, June 4th, 2015


Who can participate in the Challenge?

NGOs, companies, foundations, universities, or any other institution that is a legal entity and leads mentoring programs for women entrepreneurs. The programs can be online, face-to-face, or mixed, and should be able to demonstrate effective and proven results. The program’s methodology should have potential to be implemented and scaled up in Latin America and the Caribbean. In addition, organizations should have been implementing the programs for at least two years.

Can I participate in the Challenge if my Institution does not work in Latin America or the Caribbean, or my project does not apply to that region?

Yes, any institution from anywhere in the world is eligible, as long as their Solution can be replicated in Latin America and the Caribbean and meet the rest of the criteria. Materials should be in either English, Spanish, Portuguese or French.

How can I participate in the Challenge?

In order to participate you have to follow all of the steps listed on the Mentoring Women Entrepreneurs page within the NEXSO platform. You have until Tuesday, April 28th @ 5 pm (Washington DC, USA timezone, EDT) to complete the online form. Submissions coming from anywhere other than the NEXSO entry form will not be accepted.

Can I participate if my program has not had an impact evaluation, but it has measured results?

Yes, your program is eligible as long as it has appropriate instruments to measure outcomes, such as questionnaires, surveys, and interviews, have been proven to be effectively monitored and systematized.

Can an organization design a new idea for this Challenge?

No. It is important to present initiatives that are already active and can demonstrate results and impact.

Can I send the application in a language other than English?

Applications can be sent only in English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

Is there someone at NEXSO who can answer my questions before I submit a solution?

Yes, please send an e-mail to and we will respond to whatever question that you might have about the Challenge. Please include the name of the Challenge to which you are applying in the subject line of your message.

Goals and Criteria

About the Challenge

The rate of female entrepreneurship in Latin America and the Caribbean is much higher than in other parts of the developing world. However, women entrepreneurs in the region continue to face difficulties in accessing funding, training, networking, and mentoring.

Mentoring can help women entrepreneurs define their ideas and carry them out, whether in developing their initial business plans or keeping their businesses growing. It introduces them to other entrepreneurs and/or mentors, building up their networks. In addition, mentoring promotes personal development, enhances self-esteem, and fosters entrepreneurial leadership skills.

It has been proven that training programs for women entrepreneurs that include mentoring components have better results. However, there is yet little concrete evidence of the effectiveness of mentoring programs for women entrepreneurs on their own.

The main objective of this online challenge is to identify innovative mentoring programs/solutions with methodologies and effective results that are helping women entrepreneurs thrive in the business world.


  • Identifying the best mentoring programs for women entrepreneurs that have demonstrated effective results on the performance of women-led enterprises in a wide range of areas (sales, growth, number of new contacts, and level of trust in the mentor- mentee relationship).
  • Defining the most effective time frame (duration) for mentoring programs and matchmaking methodologies of with high satisfaction rates for both mentors and mentees.
  • Compiling and systematizing lessons learned and best practices on mentoring programs worldwide.

Who can participate?

Legal entities that conduct mentoring programs for women entrepreneurs who own and/or lead micro, small, and medium enterprises.

  1. Legally constituted NGOs, organizations, foundations, and universities running mentoring programs for women entrepreneurs, either online, face-to-face, or mixed- format.
  2. Programs that have effective and proven results.
  3. Organizations must: (a) have been conducting their programs for at least two years, and (b) have written results (surveys, monitoring systems, progress indicators, assessments, etc.).

Mentoring programs intended for any of the following audiences:

  • Category 1: Women entrepreneurs who are launching startups or whose businesses are in their first two years of operations.
  • Category 2: Women whose businesses are at least two years old and are either microenterprises with growth potential or small businesses.
  • Category 3: High-growth women entrepreneurs, defined as women entrepreneurs whose businesses have experienced growth rates of more than 20% for at least three years.

Countries/Regions of interest: Mentoring programs may be based anywhere in the world, as long as they have a high potential to be implemented or replicated in Latin America and/or the Caribbean.

Selection process

A panel of judges made up of experts in mentoring and/or entrepreneurship will select first and second prize-winners from among the applicants, taking into account their quality and the evaluation criteria mentioned below. To learn more about the judges, please visit this section.

Evaluation Criteria

Degree of innovation: To what extent the mentoring program/Solution is unique compared to others, based on its content, matchmaking process, and/or delivery methodology.

Alignment with objectives: Whether Whether the Solution is clear about how it contributes to achieving better performance in women’s businesses, broadening their networking, and improving women’s leadership skills.

Sustainability and replicability: Whether the Solution requires minimal resources to be maintained, demonstrating that it can be applied to other contexts and target audiences to achieve greater impact and reach over time.

Impact on participants: Whether the solution demonstrates specific actions and benefits for the intended audience, and whether the results to date and those expected in future are concretely explained.

Implementation strategy: Whether the Solution clearly describes the specific activities actions that have been and will be developed to implement it, and the type and number of expected participants (direct and indirect).

The following specific criteria will be considered value-added to the Solution:

  1. Whether the organization has selected appropriate instruments to measure outcomes, such as questionnaires, surveys and interviews, and has selected and implemented an evaluation design, etc.
  2. Whether the organization has specific indicators for program implementation viability and volunteer commitment, such as training hours, meeting frequency and relationship duration and quality.
  3. Whether the organization has developed a system for collecting and managing data.


A jury of experts will select the two best mentoring programs from the applicants, choosing first- and second-place winners.

First Prize

The winner will have the opportunity to carry out its mentoring program as part of a MIF-funded project, subject to compliance with all IDB’s policies and internal procedures and requirements. The MIF will be responsible for selecting the project. In addition, one representative from the winning organization will be invited to attend an upcoming MIF-sponsored event related to entrepreneurship, mentoring, and/or networking. All expenses (air ticket, accommodation, per diem, and registration fee) will be covered by the MIF.

Second Prize

One representative of the second winner entity will be invited to attend an upcoming MIF-sponsored event related to entrepreneurship, mentoring, and/or networking. All expenses (air ticket, accommodation, per diem, and registration fee) will be covered by the MIF.


Henriette Kolb

Head of the Gender Secretariat, IFC
United States

Nancy Lee

Deputy Chief Executive Officer, MCC
United States

Steven Puig

Executive Vice President and General Manager, Banco BHD
Dominican Republic

Marta Cruz

Founding Partner, NXTPLabs

Fernando Jiménez-Ontiveros

Acting General Manager, MIF
United States

Eduardo Marques Almeida

IDB Representative