S2, Episode 15: Impact Investing with a Gender Lens

Season Two: Episode Fifteen — A look at the ways that entrepreneurs and their legal counsel can work together for the benefit of society at large.

Episode Description: Julian Constain (Fordham Law ‘20) interviews Ana Demel, Vice-chair and Secretary of the Board of Directors of Pro Mujer, Inc. about the origins of this social enterprise, its history and current mission, and the legal matters that can arise out of such a unique corporate structure.

Episode Roadmap:

  • [:30] Julian Constain introduces himself and Ana Demel, who shares the origin and mission of Pro Mujer as well as a snapshot of the successful organization, which helps poor women in Latin America.
  • [7:03] An overview of the three-pronged empowerment mission of the company, including financial services, health, and training. 
  • [10:30] The complexities and strategic points of operating in six different countries throughout North and South America, and what it means to be a social enterprise.
  • [14:25] The benefits of claiming 501(c)(3) federal tax exempt status and the ways in which profits of for-profit subsidiaries can be invested into the mission of a tax exempt organization. 
  • [21:37] Responding to regulatory changes and planning for the future with corporate restructuring, in order to maximize the organization’s mission.
  • [23:13] Legal challenges that companies might face when meeting corporate governance regulations in the international finance and health sectors.
  • [28:07] Examples of balancing Pro Mujer’s company vision while also complying with corporate governance.
  • [34:25] The process of introducing Pro Mujer’s services into new countries and the challenge of moving capital from country to country. 
  • [40:16] A look at what’s next as Pro Mujer works to fulfill its mantra of empowering women in Latin America.

Tweetables:

“I realized that every improvement in how the organization was run meant an improvement in the way it could serve these women in Latin America.” — Ana Demel

“Microfinance involves lending micro amounts, primarily to women, to help them in their businesses….You help them help themselves.” — Ana Demel

“Three years ago we took a really hard look at what we were doing as an organization, and we came up with a strategic plan that envisions Pro Mujer as a platform for many different services.” — Ana Demel

“We want to impact more women in a more impactful way, and it’s not just... growing the number of our financial services clients. It’s knowing that we’re growing what we’re doing for all these clients.” — Ana Demel

“The key to being tax-exempt is that all the work we do is for the purpose of furthering our charitable mission, which is to help women in Latin America.” — Ana Demel

Mentioned in This Episode:

Additional Resources: 

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Startup LAWnchpad is the podcast that educates entrepreneurs about forming, growing and protecting a startup. Startup LAWnchpad is produced by the Entrepreneurial Law Clinic at Fordham University School of Law in New York City.