Making Finance Work for Women for 45 Years | Blanca Estela Olvera

March 8, 2024

To celebrate Women’s World Banking’s 45th anniversary, we are showcasing the voices of individuals from around the world who have shaped and touched Women’s World Banking journey since its inception in 1979 at Commission on the Status of Women till today!

These are stories from across Women’s World Banking’s reach from the women we serve and our customers, to allies and women in leadership who have contributed to women’s economic empowerment and financial inclusion.

Meet Blanca Estela Olvera. She is an entrepreneur living in Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, the central hub for commerce and services for Mexico City’s poorer eastern district, for fifty years. Despite her husband’s disbelief in her ability to succeed, she launched a restaurant that her children named “MAMA Cocinca,” or Mom’s Kitchen, because they said she cooks very well and does everything for them.

Despite minimal financial support, Blanca persisted and is amongst the few 19% of women entrepreneurs formally operating across Mexico.

We worked with a national bank to help them better reach and serve women entrepreneurs in Mexico and provided product insight to meet women’s unique needs through an e-commerce app designed specifically with women in mind. Through our partnership with the bank, Blanca was able to gain access to formal financial services. She used Banco Azteca’s e-commerce app, fueled by Women’s World Banking’s insights, to grow and sustain her business. With new customers and an increase in sales, her business is thriving, and she even opened another business selling stew tacos! She believes that “anything she sets her mind to, it will happen.” 546k women have since engaged with the app to grow their businesses.

It is stories like Blanca’s that inspire us every day. We hope she inspired you too.

Women’s World Banking is dedicated to economic empowerment through financial inclusion for the nearly one billion women in the world with no or limited access to formal financial services.​ Using our sophisticated market and consumer research, we turn insights into real action to design and advocate for policy engagement, digital financial solutions, workplace leadership programs, and gender lens investing.​

As part of our current strategy, we’ve helped provide 37 million women in emerging markets – targeting 100 million by 2027 – access and use of financial products and services that are transforming women’s lives, households, businesses and communities, and driving inclusive growth globally.

Help us reach the nearly billion women still excluded from the formal financial system. Donate now.  

In 2023, Women’s World Banking set out to understand how women e-commerce entrepreneurs use e-commerce platforms to increase their economic engagement and business growth.  Learn more in our report, Building Digital Finance Solutions for Women E-Commerce Entrepreneurs: A Demand-Side Exploration in Indonesia.