Embracing tech to pursue new job opportunities in Latin America
In Latin America, a fintech startup called Henry is working to expand access to software development education so that more people can receive the training needed for jobs in tech, no matter their background, income, or experience. Henry, an Accion Venture Lab portfolio company, has embedded financial services into their education product to make it accessible to more people. Students enroll in Henry’s online coding bootcamp program at no cost until they’ve completed the program and secured a job. Not only are they democratizing education in Latin America by opening opportunities to anyone regardless of their financial situation, but they are also working to bring more women onto their platform and into Latin America’s rapidly growing tech industry.
Henry spotlights women from their online community, like Rocio on LinkedIn, to inspire other women to explore careers in tech.
Co-founder Luz Borchardt’s ultimate goal is to include more women in tech by giving women a voice and fostering an inclusive community. There is a huge demand for tech skills in Latin America, and software development presents a great opportunity for people to build secure careers. By honing their technical skills through Henry’s platform, women gain the qualifications needed to join the tech workforce. But while the demand is growing, coding and software development are not viewed as appealing careers for women in the region. This social perception holds women back from considering tech as a stable way to earn a living.
Henry is working to overcome the belief that coding is a career for men through dedicated support and recruitment efforts tailored to women. They’re building a community that encourages women to pursue opportunities by facilitating meetups of women in tech, launching a dedicated blog with resources for women, representing women on their website, and featuring testimonials from female students on their social media pages. This community, called Henry Women, offers women support and empowerment to seize new opportunities they may have never considered before.
“The products of the future have to be built for everyone. Everyone has to be represented at the table and at the discussion when designing a product.”
Luz and her team know that diversity is the way forward, and inclusivity is core to their work help everyone access the education needed to reach their potential. “The products of the future have to be built for everyone. Everyone has to be represented at the table and at the discussion when designing a product,” says Luz. As their students complete their curriculum, Henry helps them to find jobs in their new field. They are elevating the voices of their female students and advocating for tech companies to prioritize hiring women. Henry conducts diversity talks and with their tech company partners to stress how companies can perform better when they prioritize gender parity in the workplace and build diverse teams. Thirty percent of Henry’s own staff are women, and the majority of their instructors are women. So far, Henry has grown their percentage of female students from 20 to 25 percent — a significant number in Latin America, where only 10 percent of women college graduates were enrolled in engineering or technology courses in 2018, according to the company’s research.