A Conversation with Colombia’s Chambers of Commerce – #GEW2020

11.19.2020, 2:30PM to 3:30PM

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Watch the event video in English here:

During Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Center for International Private Enterprise’s (CIPE) Latin America and Caribbean Department (LAC) and Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment (CWEE) invite you to discuss the challenges to women entrepreneurs in Colombia.

Lina Vélez and Decci Ibarra will share their perspectives as female leaders of the Medellin and Putumayo Chambers of Commerce. Vélez and Ibarra represent vastly different regions of Colombia: one from a national economic hub and the other from a post-conflict zone formerly controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Velez and Ibarra will shed light upon opportunities and obstacles to success for female entrepreneurs across the country.

Additionally, Connie Gonzalez from CWEE will participate in the discussion to share about CIPE’s work with women entrepreneurs.

The 45-minute conversation will be moderated by CIPE Colombia Program Director Angela Maria Velez and be followed by a 15-minute Q&A session.


  • Lina Vélez has been the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Medellin since 2002. She is a lawyer from the Pontifical Bolivian University with a specialization in Business Law at the Universidad Externado de Colombia. Previously, she was the Executive Director of Microbusiness in Antioquia, Manager of IDEA, and the General Secretary of Public Companies of Medellin. From her work in the public and private sectors, she has led projects to benefit the business sectors in the region. From the Medellín Chamber of Commerce to Antioquia, she has directed the process of productive specialization, as well as different public-private initiatives focused on improving competitiveness. She serves on the board of directors for the Pablo Tobón Uribe Hospital, Bancocolombia, Confederación Colombiana de Cámaras de Comercio, the CES Clinic Telemedicine Company, and Arví Park Corporation.
  • Decci Ibarra is a Public Administrator with a master’s in Public Management for Ibero-American Leaders and a specialist in international relations. She received the Andrés Bello Distinction for the best Bachelor in her class. The daughter of small business owners, she gained planning, organization, leadership, customer service, and problem-solving skills from a young age. She has worked in areas of administration, coordination, management, and organization with Plan Colombia, the Fundación Antonio Restrepo Barco. For the past 11 years, she has been the Executive President of the Putumayo Chamber of Commerce, an entity which has been recognized at the local, regional, and national level for its growth, management, and collaborative work.
  • Connie Gonzalez is a Senior Program Officer for the CIPE’s Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment (CWEE), based in El Salvador. She is a gender expert with degrees from Dartmouth College and the George Washington University. She has worked as a gender advocate and economic driver in El Salvador and Costa Rica with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), and the World Bank. In addition to liaising with high-level officials on issues including economic growth and microfinance, Gonzalez also managed projects which increased opportunities for democracy, good governance, gender integration, and youth involvement.

This webinar will be broadcast on Zoom, details on how to access the webinar will be included at the bottom of your confirmation email. This event will be presented simultaneously in Spanish and English.