International and National Financing for Women
More Microloans for Chilean Women Entrepreneurs Thanks to Donated Software
FINAM (International and National Financing for Women) is a Chilean organization that supports entrepreneurial development through microloans, training, and financial services. FINAM was founded 20 years ago by a group of 50 women who wanted to make an impact on Chile's economy. Driven by the knowledge that women reinvest the majority of their earnings back into their children, FINAM helps women and their families gain financial independence through entrepreneurship.
Today the organization provides continuous support and empowerment to hardworking Chilean families. "Every year we serve over 5,000 families, and we can proudly say that many women have taken up to 20 microloans with us because they believe in the work we do," says Lucila Gonzalez, general manager of FINAM.
Managing this large number of loans is hard work for the small staff of FINAM. While the organization expanded its services, internal operations suffered from using trial software and freeware. When FINAM heard about DonaTech, the software donation program of CDI Chile, a partner of the TechSoup Global Network, it saw the opportunity to improve its systems and increase its reach. FINAM's Microsoft Windows and Office software upgrades and its implementation of Small Business Server Premium gave the organization the ability to have staff work remotely, closer to their clients, and to offer training and services in new areas.
This increased flexibility allowed the organization to reach out to Lidia Caroca, a restaurant owner near the town of Jose Maria. Lidia's entrepreneurial spirit, ambition, hard work, and ability to seek help within her community and through FINAM took her from small store owner to restaurateur. Lidia is now considering taking out another loan to improve the look of her restaurant. She and hundreds of women in Chile depend on FINAM and its loan program to grow their businesses, just as FINAM depends on up-to-date software to keep its operations running smoothly.