The lack of mentors or extensive networking makes it hard for businesswomen to grow their companies in Latin America, according to a study by the Multilateral Investment Fund, or FOMIN, a unit of the Inter-American Development Bank.

"The study shows that 46 percent of female entrepreneurs in Latin America have no mentors, and both mentors and role models are key to the growth process," FOMIN's Susana Garcia-Robles told Efe Monday.

The study shows that 46 percent of female entrepreneurs in Latin America have no mentors

- FOMIN's Susana Garcia-Robles

The survey, which interviewed entrepreneurs in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Jamaica, notes that studying abroad usually strengthens networking, boosts confidence in adapting to new situations, and provides an understanding of how other markets work and their best practices.

While 65 percent of the men surveyed studied outside their native countries, only 42 percent of the women did, Garcia-Robles said.

Americas director of Entrepreneur Of The Year and Venture Capital Advisory Group Leader at Ernst & Young, Bryan Pearce, said the study also highlights the fact that men are more prepared than women to take on business partners or share an investment.

"Which means that besides the lack of contacts and mentors, access to financing is another of the challenges, because women are less likely to issue shares or look outside the firm for partners in order to raise needed capital," Pearce said.

FOMIN also believes that an effort should be made to find entrepreneurial women and help them take their companies "to the next level by connecting them with sources of financing." 

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