Village Capital: Unlocking capital for early-stage entrepreneurs

We touched base with Costanza Beltrame, Head of New Business Development and Partnerships at Village Capital, to hear about her experience as a Moody’s Foundation partner and explore our work that’s helping to unlock capital for impact startups that are working to solve today’s pressing issues. Check out our game-changing programs!

A new start for startups

For 15 years, Village Capital has been fueling the growth of sustainable and impact-creating business. They unlock capital for early-stage entrepreneurs, creating solutions for social, economic, and environmental challenges around the world. Their core pillars – economic mobility, equitable access to essential services, and climate innovation and adaptation – drive their mission to build an equitable system that supports entrepreneurship.

Costanza says, “Our mission is to expand entrepreneurship and provide equal opportunities to communities who may not have the same opportunity.” For them, opportunity is not only capital, but access to networks, skills and training. Entrepreneurs who have lived similar challenges as those they are trying to solve, especially women, migrants and refugees, are a big focus of Village Capital’s work as they strive to minimize gender and generational gaps.  

Expanding one country at a time

Our work is rooted in strategic alignment and the development of program structures, timelines, and budgets. Constanza says, “Our partnership is not a situation where a foundation signs the grant and then removes itself – our teams ideate together. We align on priority countries where we can make the most impact, and that meet a specific level of ecosystem development. We tend to work in markets that are not overly saturated and that have less support from organizations like us.”  

Over our five-year partnership, we have expanded our work from Latin America into a global partnership. Our first collaboration, “Finance Forward”, focused on economic abilities, financial inclusion, and financial literacy in Latin America. Starting in 2021, we were able to move into Africa and shift our focus to sustainability, and this year we are proud to be supporting a global initiative, GreenTech 2024: The Future of Sustainability.

The 2023 program, “Innovation for Ecosystem Restoration”, focused on empowering underestimated entrepreneurs in parts of LatAm and Africa. The program addressed some of the most pressing challenges facing ecosystem restoration entrepreneurs in these markets, including support for developing ecosystem restoration and a lack of access to investment capital.

Constanza emphasizes that support that goes beyond grant funding is the key to unlocking great opportunities, “Bringing this work to new regions is a big deal and we have found that when a partnership works well, it’s easy to grow.”

An enriching experience

Our volunteers working with Village Capital are involved in many activities to make programming and expansion a success. They have been able to gain in-depth perspectives directly from entrepreneurs and first-hand experience into how Village Capital operates as an organization. This in turn allows them to act as better coaches and mentors – providing advice and ideas that are rooted in deeper knowledge of the problems to be solved.

Our volunteers value attending program events in-person and getting to know the entrepreneurs and Village Capital employees. “Through my different roles with Village Capital, including the Advisory Board, I've had the opportunity to develop and apply my professional skills in a lot of diverse ways. By supporting and guiding small businesses in their growth journey, not only are we fostering economic development, but we are also creating a ripple effect of positive change within underserved communities,” said Santiago Villegas Gomez, Director-LatAm Sales Manager, Moody’s Analytics.

Constanza says, “We know we can count on Moody’s volunteers to be well-organized, great communicators and take us and our work seriously – they make us feel valued.” She adds, "For me, what is important is that both parties leave the program feeling enriched by the experience. Based on the feedback we collect at the end of the programs, the entrepreneurs love the time they spend with Moody's volunteers."

We can’t wait to see how our partnership with Village Capital will continue to grow. Be sure to watch the video for more insights into our current programs and initiatives. Find out more about Village Capital’s mission 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.

Return to Moody's CSR home