Conciencia: Empowering diverse entrepreneurs in Argentina

We met with Conciencia’s Silvana Vives, President and Executive Director, Anabella Serignese, Executive Director (LatAm), and Josefina Goñi, Program Manager, to discuss their experience as a Moody’s Foundation partner and the programs that are empowering diverse entrepreneurs in Argentina. Let’s dive in!

A mission with purpose

Conciencia is one of the biggest associations that support entrepreneurs in Argentina, using their influence and mission to make a meaningful difference. Their hallmark Emprendiendo tu Futuro program helps small businesses in vulnerable communities to expand by creating business models that improve labor conditions and promote economic growth. And since they know economic conditions tend to be worse for women, Conciencia places a strong focus on women-owned enterprises.

Silvana adds, “We support around 670 small business owners with more than 85% of participants being women. These are numbers that we’re proud of, and numbers that are only possible because of Moody’s unwavering support.”

The people behind the program

Our people are generous with their time and resources and have worked diligently to share their knowledge with budding entrepreneurs. Throughout this partnership, Moody’s volunteers have helped in numerous ways; some volunteers support the strategic design of the program while others have their boots on the ground and work directly with local entrepreneurs to closely consult and follow the development of their businesses.

Silvana says, “Moody’s brings a higher level of volunteering. We receive a lot of senior support from Moody’s and recently had two executives join our Advisory Council. Not only do they help us design and implement our programs, but they provide us with a lot of outside-the-box strategy and ideas.”

Martin Fernandez Romero, MD-Moody’s Local Group, previously served on Conciencia’s Advisory Council, while Marina Rosemberg, MD-LatAm Commercial Group took over the position in 2023.

“Conciencia’s commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs and local communities through financial education resonates deeply with me. I feel inspired by the opportunities I’ve had to connect my colleagues with entrepreneurs in underserved areas for purposes of mentorship and support. Our collective efforts leave a lasting impact on these entrepreneurs' businesses and self-confidence," said Marina Rosemberg, MD-LatAm Commercial Group, Moody’s Investors Service.

Our support has helped the program to expand into other provinces. Volunteers participate globally, extending their involvement beyond Argentina to countries such as Costa Rica. Anabella says, “It’s a great opportunity for our entrepreneurs to connect with people everywhere and get exposure to expert knowledge from around the world.”

Supporting small businesses in difficult times

“We’ve always had a close relationship with Moody's as they’ve been very hands-on and present,” says Anabella. During the pandemic, that relationship and trust grew even stronger.

Josefina explains, “Moody’s volunteers helped to design and expand a program aimed at supporting small businesses that were struggling during this difficult time.”

Anabella adds, “Moody’s volunteers really surprised us during the pandemic. They brought their families and friends on board. If they didn’t have the specific knowledge, they would try to find a solution.” One such solution was a food handling protocol with general recommendations that entrepreneurs could follow at home to ensure the food was safe for their customers. Josefina adds, “We developed a new set of food hygiene rules with the help of a volunteer’s mom. It worked so well that we rolled it out across numerous territories. It was amazing to see how well this simple idea worked.”

Whatever challenges need to be solved for small business owners; we know we can make a difference together. Learn more about Conciencia’s work by visiting their website.

This story is part of a series highlighting the relationship between Moody’s Foundation and its partners. At Moody’s, we take a comprehensive approach to social investing, employee engagement, and pro bono service to empower small businesses and support ecosystem restoration in emerging markets.

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