Augusta, Francinete and Cleonice have started their own businesses in Brazil, which has changed their lives for the better. They are contributing to the economy of their communities, generating employment and developing their professional potential. They have done this by obtaining a microcredit from the Prospera programme, a Santander initiative that has been advocating financial empowerment in the country for 17 years.
Augusta lives in Araripina, Brazil. From a young age, she has worked as a housekeeper, in agriculture and also as a laundress. Then, an electric oven changed her life. It was the first purchase she could make to start setting up her own bakery. She did so after obtaining a microcredit from the Prospera programme, Santander's microfinance initiative in Brazil. Augusta’s bakery has already generated employment and contributed to the economic development of her community.
Francinete owns a small tailor shop in the Paraisópolis neighbourhood of São Paulo. In just four years, Francinete managed to organise, open and formalise her business, and hire more staff. "I have now won a Santander entrepreneurship course that is helping my business grow further", says Francinete. Márcia Pereira de Souza, the agent at Prospera who closely follows Francinete’s career, notes that she “has a natural talent for entrepreneurship, she just needed a little support.”
Cleonice is also among the hundreds of thousands of Prospera customers making a significant change in their community. Since she was a little girl, Cleonice enjoyed watching her mother sew. She started to help her from a very young age. Today, thanks to Prospera's microcredit, she owns a tailor shop and employs three other people from her neighbourhood.
Funding for dreams
Santander launched the Prospera microfinance programme in Brazil 17 years ago. Over the years, we have granted R$6.6 billion in microcredits to 700,000 entrepreneurs, 70% of them women, from 1,500 municipalities. Our goal is to support Brazilian citizens who want to start a business and who live in communities without access to financial services.
In the words of Sérgio Rial, chairman of Santander Brazil: “Today, 50 million Brazilians live below the poverty line. Many of them are potential entrepreneurs, but they have difficulties overcoming barriers and fulfilling their dreams."
Therefore, at Santander, we work to provide resources to people who seek to realise their dreams in any economic sector. For this reason, we feel very proud to be the private bank that invests the most in microcredits in Brazil.