Costa Rica
February 27, 2016


WEConnect International and representatives of public and private organizations that support female empowerment joined Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla on February 27th in a ceremony in San José to sign an executive decree supporting the economic development of women.

Belisa de las Casas, Director of Latin America for WEConnect International, and Sequeira co-signed the historic document with President Chinchilla on behalf of WEConnect International.


“WEConnect International is extremely proud to be a part of this historic event that reflects the deep commitment of the government of Costa Rica to the progress of women business owners,” de las Casas explained.

The ceremony marked the start of the second stage of “Where are the Productive Women in Costa Rica?”, a program that aims to raise the visibility of women who are active contributors to the country’s economy and to support their efforts. The first part of the initiative focused on building a network of 32 public and private organizations that promote women’s development. The second stage, launched at the ceremony, involves 40 development projects managed by women that will be monitored and supported by the network. In addition to the Executive Decree, the members of the network also signed a Letter of Understanding that formalized their cooperation.

President Chinchilla was accompanied by top government officials, including Mayi Antillón, Minister of Economy, Industry and Commerce. Representatives of other institutions actively involved in the initiative were also in attendance, including the leaders of the Instituto Nacional de la Mujer (National Institute of Women) and members of the network.

This initiative receives support from the Director of the Gender Affairs Division of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), with funding from the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ). WEConnect International’s work in Costa Rica is generously supported by the Inter American Development Bank.

The day prior to the ceremony, Sequeira, was a featured speaker at an event hosted by WEConnect International Corporate Member Banco Nacional de Costa Rica.

The gathering featured workshops and an awareness building meeting.

Sequeira gave a presentation on WEConnect International’s work.

María Aminta Quirce, Director for Banca Mujer at Banco Nacional, discussed the financial array of products and services the bank offers to small and medium sized businesses.

Procomer, the foreign trade corporation of Costa Rica, presented information on the country’s strongest exporting sectors and discussed the challenges and opportunities for small and medium sized businesses.

Approximately 30 to 35 women business owners, all WEConnect International members and BN clients, attended the event. Joan Flynn, economic attaché of the US Embassy, and Abby Daniel, from the US Department of Commerce were also present.

Photos: Left: Costa Rica President Laura Chinchilla offers keynote remarks during the ceremony to sign an executive decree promoting women’s financial empowerment February 27th in San José. WEConnect International, along with other organizations devoted to gender issues, was one of the signatories of the historic document; Right: Mayi Antillón, Costa Rica Minister of Economy, receives from Antonina Sequeira, Market Lead for WEConnect International in Costa Rica, a copy of “Buying for Impact: How to Buy from Women and Change our World”, co-authored by WEConnect International CEO Elizabeth Vazquez, during the ceremony to sign an executive decree promoting women’s empowerment on February 27th in San José.

Lea el comunicado de prensa en Español aquí.