Before the pandemic, María Alejandra sold ceramics, felt crafts and catalogue products. When her husband was laid off, the family lost its main source of income; but she grabbed the bull by the horns.

Covid-19 had a devastating effect on Mexico's economy. In 2020, over a million SMEs and micro-businesses — more than 20% of the total — went under. María Alejandra wasn’t going to let that stop her and started afresh by opening a small street food business. She began with traditional dishes like quesadillas, gorditas, tostadas, pambazos and sopes.

Hear María Alejandra's story

Her motivation was a wish to help one of her daughters finish university. Because lectures were online, the family had to get the Internet at home, a must-have in today’s world. 

Having got a loan from Tuiio, María Alejandra started to learn how to manage her money and savings through courses that Santander México offers to all its customers. 

By becoming fluent in traditional and digital banking, she could stop depending on cash to save and pay bills and do everything online in a flash. 

Learning about finance gave María Alejandra the tools to make better decisions on how to manage her money and protect her financial health. 

Her business is going from strength to strength, and she tells us she’s even added desserts to the menu.

According to María Alejandra, “Tuiio changed my life”. The micro loan helped her set up a business and safeguard what matters to her the most: her family. 

In November 2020, Santander México won International Finance Magazine’s (IFM) “Best Financial Inclusion Bank” award for its Tuiio initiative, which serves over 226,000 customers, 92% of whom are women. Since launching in 2017, Tuiio has granted over 453,000 loans worth EUR 130 million (3.081 billion pesos) to customers. From March 2020 to June 2021, Tuiio gave 245,00 loans to low-income households amid the pandemic. 

Santander Finance for All is Banco Santander’s programme to promote financial inclusion. We help society prosper in the countries where we operate with basic financial products and services (even in remote areas) to support people at risk of exclusion thrive in their work, and by promoting financial education. We're making progress on our commitment to financially empower 10 million people by 2025 through Tuiio in Mexico, Prospera in Brazil and Uruguay, Surgir in Peru, and Superdigital in Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Argentina (these last two are expanding in Latin America), and other initiatives.

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