Who we are

WHO

WE ARE

Who we are - BG

IDB Lab is the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group,
a purpose-driven innovation platform that mobilizes capital, knowledge and connections to catalyze innovation for inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

We believe that innovation can be a powerful tool to transform our region, generating today unprecedented opportunities for vulnerable populations who are excluded due to economic, social and/or environmental reasons, or due to their gender.

What we do

WHAT

WE DO

We support innovative ventures and projects with a potential to generate impact on a large scale. We promote innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, and we systematize and disseminate knowledge to connect ideas and scale their impact.

Impacting more than 600 million people

More than 2300 projects financed since 1993

More than US$ 2 billion approved since 1993

An entity formed from 39 donor countries

Millions of people
Millions of people - BG

LEADERSHIP TEAM

We work in 26 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean

Block
Irene Arias - BID LAB
Irene Arias Hofman
CEO

Irene leads IDB Lab since January 2018. The IDB Group innovation laboratory is a purpose-driven platform open to the world that mobilizes capital, connections, and knowledge to promote innovation for inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Previously, she developed her career working for more than 20 years with the World Bank Group, specifically with the IFC, the largest international development institution focused on the private sector. There, Irene had investment responsibilities with global reach and also focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. She managed the IFC's largest portfolio - US$ 16 billion - and annual investment programs of more than US$ 6 billion. Her focus has been on innovation, venture capital, and fintech.
 

Toshitaka Takeuchi - BID LAB
Toshitaka Takeuchi
Principal Advisor

Toshitaka is Principal Advisor to IDB Lab's CEO from August 2018. He focuses on innovative private sector-led approaches to promote sustainable economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean region. He is engaged in supporting IDB Lab's overall operational management and administrative improvement to strengthen its function as the IDB Group innovation laboratory.

Prior to joining IDB Lab, he was Senior Director in Latin America and Caribbean Department of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), where he worked to extend loans and grants to infrastructure and disaster risk management projects in the region. He marked twenty years career development in Japanese aid agencies to developing countries, that is, JICA, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, Japan (OECF), with increasing responsibility. In addition, he has four years working experience in IDB, leading the creation of a new co-financing mechanism for renewable energy development and the expansion of IDB’s Public-Private Partnership facility. He has a MA in Leadership from Georgetown University, a MA in Financial Economics from Comillas Pontifical University in Spain and a BA in Economics from Waseda University in Japan.
 

Tomas Miller - BID LAB
Tomás Miller
Unit Chief

Tomás serves as Chief of Strategy and Resource Management Unit. Prior to his current position, he held several leadership roles at the Laboratory, both at the corporate and operational levels, including Chief of Access to Finance and Chief of Financial and Resource Management.

Before joining the IDB Lab in 2000, Tomás worked as an Investment Executive for the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) in Caracas, Venezuela. In Costa Rica, he served as Vice-Dean of General Studies at Universidad Autónoma de Centroamérica (UACA) and worked for a brokerage house structuring debt-equity swaps. Tomás holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Colorado State University, an MBA from the University of Dallas, and a bachelor’s degree from UACA.
 

Alfredo Giró Quincke
Alfredo Giró Quincke
Unit Chief

Alfredo, an Uruguayan national, joined IDB Lab in 1998 and currently serves as the Chief of the Operations Programming Unit. His roles at the Laboratory have included project origination and project design in topics related to MSME development, overseeing activities in the Andean Region and the Southern Cone countries and heading the Programming and Special Programs Unit, the Innovation and Knowledge Management Unit, the Knowledge and Strategic Communications Unit and the Strategy and Resources Management Unit.

From 1992 to 1997, Alfredo served as technical advisor to the Uruguayan Task Force for MERCOSUR, part of the Office of the President, on issues mainly related to strategies and policies for small and medium sized enterprise development. Alfredo has a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and International Economics from Sophia University, Japan and a Master in Science Degree in Politics of World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
 

Yuri Soares - BID LAB
Yuri Soares
Unit Chief

Yuri is Chief of the Knowledge Management Unit, where he is responsible for developing and implementing vanguard approaches to experiment and learn from innovation. Previously he served as Chief of the Laboratory's Climate Smart Agriculture Unit, where he managed the design and implementation of projects in agriculture value chain, agritech innovation, and environmental assets and natural capital. Yuri has also led IDB Lab's development effectiveness agenda.

Before joining the Laboratory, Yuri was Principal Advisor at the Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE) of the IDB, where he worked on topics related to private sector development and finance, active labor market programs, housing and neighborhood improvement, justice reform, citizen security and violence, and education policy. Yuri holds a PhD in Economics from Michigan State University and a MA in Agricultural Economics from the University of Florida. He has worked in the US and Brazil, where he has published on topics such as firm innovation and growth, agriculture, crime and violence, youth training and active labor market programs, and the economics of public amenities.
 

Susana García-Robles - BID LAB
Susana García-Robles
Unit Chief

Susana is the Chief of the Loans and Equity Unit. A recognized expert on development finance innovation, she assumed the leadership of all IDB Lab's financial operations in September 2017. She is responsible for overseeing a portfolio of US$35-40 MM in new approvals every year in loans, direct equity operations, equity investments in venture capital (VC), SME funds, social impact bonds and new blended finance instruments for social innovation.

Prior to this position, she served as Advisor to IDB Lab's CEO on Innovation, Strategy and Client Relationships, while keeping her prior position as Team Leader in charge of the Laboratory VC Funds. Since August 2016, she also serves as IDB Lab's Gender Coordinator.

Starting in 1999 when she joined the Laboratory, Susana has built IDB Lab's seed/VC investment program as well as its high impact entrepreneurship, angel investment, and women economic empowerment strategies. She is a co-founder of the Argentinean VC Association/ARCAP and the Colombian VC/PE Association ColCapital, an Advisory Board member of the Colombian VC/PE Association ColCapital, a member of the LAVCA VC Group, a member of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association Council of Development Finance Institutions, and Advisory Board member of the Brazilian VC Association, ABVCAP. In 2012 she co-founded WeXchange, the first pitch competition and platform of encounter between LAC women entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors. In 2016, she co-founded the Impact Investment Task Force for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

During 1993-1998, she worked as Consultant for U.S. foreign policy and United Nations issues for various governments and civil society organizations: Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Spain, and the U.S; served as Delegate to the main UN Conferences during 1994-1999 dealing with population and development, human settlements/HABITAT, women, and social development.

Prior to 1993 she worked on the design of social and service programs for disadvantaged youth and women in New York City, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Mexico.

Susana has a Master’s Degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University and a Master and Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Education from the Catholic University of Argentina.
 

Maria Elena Nawar - BID LAB
María Elena Nawar
Unit Chief

María Elena, a Peruvian-American national, joined IDB Lab in 1996 and currently serves as Chief of the Grants Unit, where she is responsible for an annual approval of 40 - 50 projects totaling US$50 million, and the supervision of more than 300 projects in the active portfolio. 

María Elena has more than 20 years of experience designing and monitoring projects in technical and digital work force development, skills standards and certification, STEM education, youth training, labor relations and modernization, accounting and auditing, strengthening of microfinance institutions and business development services. As part of the Lab's Development Effectiveness Unit, she worked on organizational changes to enhance project results and risk management and streamline fiduciary procedures to better serve IDB Lab partners in the region. She also collaborated on designing a rigorous monitoring and evaluation framework for projects and knowledge products financed by the Laboratory.

Prior to joining IDB Lab, María Elena worked at the U.S. Labor Department and provided consulting services to UNICEF. She has a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Given her interest in learning and knowledge management, she is currently pursuing a Master of Science in educational psychology from George Mason University. She resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, and 3 children, Marcelo, Mateo and Lucia.
 

Irene Arias - BID LAB
Irene Arias Hofman
CEO

Irene leads IDB Lab since January 2018. The IDB Group innovation laboratory is a purpose-driven platform open to the world that mobilizes capital, connections, and knowledge to promote innovation for inclusion in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

Previously, she developed her career working for more than 20 years with the World Bank Group, specifically with the IFC, the largest international development institution focused on the private sector. There, Irene had investment responsibilities with global reach and also focused on Latin America and the Caribbean. She managed the IFC's largest portfolio - US$ 16 billion - and annual investment programs of more than US$ 6 billion. Her focus has been on innovation, venture capital, and fintech.
 

Toshitaka Takeuchi - BID LAB
Toshitaka Takeuchi
Principal Advisor

Toshitaka is Principal Advisor to IDB Lab's CEO from August 2018. He focuses on innovative private sector-led approaches to promote sustainable economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean region. He is engaged in supporting IDB Lab's overall operational management and administrative improvement to strengthen its function as the IDB Group innovation laboratory.

Prior to joining IDB Lab, he was Senior Director in Latin America and Caribbean Department of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), where he worked to extend loans and grants to infrastructure and disaster risk management projects in the region. He marked twenty years career development in Japanese aid agencies to developing countries, that is, JICA, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, Japan (OECF), with increasing responsibility. In addition, he has four years working experience in IDB, leading the creation of a new co-financing mechanism for renewable energy development and the expansion of IDB’s Public-Private Partnership facility. He has a MA in Leadership from Georgetown University, a MA in Financial Economics from Comillas Pontifical University in Spain and a BA in Economics from Waseda University in Japan.
 

Tomas Miller - BID LAB
Tomás Miller
Unit Chief

Tomás serves as Chief of Strategy and Resource Management Unit. Prior to his current position, he held several leadership roles at the Laboratory, both at the corporate and operational levels, including Chief of Access to Finance and Chief of Financial and Resource Management.

Before joining the IDB Lab in 2000, Tomás worked as an Investment Executive for the Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) in Caracas, Venezuela. In Costa Rica, he served as Vice-Dean of General Studies at Universidad Autónoma de Centroamérica (UACA) and worked for a brokerage house structuring debt-equity swaps. Tomás holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Colorado State University, an MBA from the University of Dallas, and a bachelor’s degree from UACA.
 

Alfredo Giró Quincke
Alfredo Giró Quincke
Unit Chief

Alfredo, an Uruguayan national, joined IDB Lab in 1998 and currently serves as the Chief of the Operations Programming Unit. His roles at the Laboratory have included project origination and project design in topics related to MSME development, overseeing activities in the Andean Region and the Southern Cone countries and heading the Programming and Special Programs Unit, the Innovation and Knowledge Management Unit, the Knowledge and Strategic Communications Unit and the Strategy and Resources Management Unit.

From 1992 to 1997, Alfredo served as technical advisor to the Uruguayan Task Force for MERCOSUR, part of the Office of the President, on issues mainly related to strategies and policies for small and medium sized enterprise development. Alfredo has a Bachelor's Degree in International Business and International Economics from Sophia University, Japan and a Master in Science Degree in Politics of World Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
 

Yuri Soares - BID LAB
Yuri Soares
Unit Chief

Yuri is Chief of the Knowledge Management Unit, where he is responsible for developing and implementing vanguard approaches to experiment and learn from innovation. Previously he served as Chief of the Laboratory's Climate Smart Agriculture Unit, where he managed the design and implementation of projects in agriculture value chain, agritech innovation, and environmental assets and natural capital. Yuri has also led IDB Lab's development effectiveness agenda.

Before joining the Laboratory, Yuri was Principal Advisor at the Office of Evaluation and Oversight (OVE) of the IDB, where he worked on topics related to private sector development and finance, active labor market programs, housing and neighborhood improvement, justice reform, citizen security and violence, and education policy. Yuri holds a PhD in Economics from Michigan State University and a MA in Agricultural Economics from the University of Florida. He has worked in the US and Brazil, where he has published on topics such as firm innovation and growth, agriculture, crime and violence, youth training and active labor market programs, and the economics of public amenities.
 

Susana García-Robles - BID LAB
Susana García-Robles
Unit Chief

Susana is the Chief of the Loans and Equity Unit. A recognized expert on development finance innovation, she assumed the leadership of all IDB Lab's financial operations in September 2017. She is responsible for overseeing a portfolio of US$35-40 MM in new approvals every year in loans, direct equity operations, equity investments in venture capital (VC), SME funds, social impact bonds and new blended finance instruments for social innovation.

Prior to this position, she served as Advisor to IDB Lab's CEO on Innovation, Strategy and Client Relationships, while keeping her prior position as Team Leader in charge of the Laboratory VC Funds. Since August 2016, she also serves as IDB Lab's Gender Coordinator.

Starting in 1999 when she joined the Laboratory, Susana has built IDB Lab's seed/VC investment program as well as its high impact entrepreneurship, angel investment, and women economic empowerment strategies. She is a co-founder of the Argentinean VC Association/ARCAP and the Colombian VC/PE Association ColCapital, an Advisory Board member of the Colombian VC/PE Association ColCapital, a member of the LAVCA VC Group, a member of the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association Council of Development Finance Institutions, and Advisory Board member of the Brazilian VC Association, ABVCAP. In 2012 she co-founded WeXchange, the first pitch competition and platform of encounter between LAC women entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors. In 2016, she co-founded the Impact Investment Task Force for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

During 1993-1998, she worked as Consultant for U.S. foreign policy and United Nations issues for various governments and civil society organizations: Argentina, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Spain, and the U.S; served as Delegate to the main UN Conferences during 1994-1999 dealing with population and development, human settlements/HABITAT, women, and social development.

Prior to 1993 she worked on the design of social and service programs for disadvantaged youth and women in New York City, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Mexico.

Susana has a Master’s Degree in International Economic Policy from Columbia University and a Master and Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Education from the Catholic University of Argentina.
 

Maria Elena Nawar - BID LAB
María Elena Nawar
Unit Chief

María Elena, a Peruvian-American national, joined IDB Lab in 1996 and currently serves as Chief of the Grants Unit, where she is responsible for an annual approval of 40 - 50 projects totaling US$50 million, and the supervision of more than 300 projects in the active portfolio. 

María Elena has more than 20 years of experience designing and monitoring projects in technical and digital work force development, skills standards and certification, STEM education, youth training, labor relations and modernization, accounting and auditing, strengthening of microfinance institutions and business development services. As part of the Lab's Development Effectiveness Unit, she worked on organizational changes to enhance project results and risk management and streamline fiduciary procedures to better serve IDB Lab partners in the region. She also collaborated on designing a rigorous monitoring and evaluation framework for projects and knowledge products financed by the Laboratory.

Prior to joining IDB Lab, María Elena worked at the U.S. Labor Department and provided consulting services to UNICEF. She has a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Given her interest in learning and knowledge management, she is currently pursuing a Master of Science in educational psychology from George Mason University. She resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, and 3 children, Marcelo, Mateo and Lucia.
 

Grupo BID

Grupo BID

IDB GROUP

Grupo BID - BG

The IDB Group is a family of three multilateral entities        - IDB, IDB Invest and IDB Lab - devoted to improving lives in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Inter-American Development Bank works with governments, supporting large public sector projects; IDB Invest finances private sector initiatives and businesses, and IDB Lab develops proof of concepts working with different actors in innovation ecosystems and leverages the IDB Group's influence with governments, corporations and civil society to scale the their impact.

The IDB Group is the largest development bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, and is engaged in providing solutions for the region's most important challenges. It has the flexibility to take on projects and operations of different magnitude and levels of risk, working with different types of actors.

IDB

IDB Invest

IDB LAB

Our Journey

1992

WE ARE BORN

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) is formally established. Experimenting, pioneering and taking risks in order to find and support successful development solutions for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

1993

FIRST PROJECTS

We approve our first 12 projects in Bolivia, Colombia, and Jamaica.

1996

PIONEERS IN VENTURE CAPITAL

We make the first investments in VC funds in Latin America and the Caribbean.

1998

FOROMIC IS BORN

The IDB organizes the first Inter-American Forum for Microenterprise in Mexico City. We would later take over the organization of the event, which has become the leading regional conference on financial inclusion.

1999

DEVELOPING THE VENTURE CAPITAL INDUSTRY

First MIF Fund Managers’ Meeting in Miami.

2000

MAJOR MILESTONE

500 project and more than US$ 600 million approved.

2000

REMITTANCES IN LAC

We initiate our remittances program contributing to a 60% decrease in the average cost for migrants to send money back to their families in Latin America and the Caribbean.

2002

COMMITMENT WITH CSR

The first conference on Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America, CSRAmericas, takes place in Miami. Later, we will take on its organization.

2004

AN AGENT OF CHANGE

“[The MIF’s strengths include] focus on innovation and reasonable tolerance of failure… responsiveness to market needs (…) flexibility and capacity for learning (…) possible mobilization and leveraging of resources. The MIF has distinct advantages as a laboratory to test effective new approaches to policy and/or business models for the private sector in the region."

2005

NEW PHASE

Our first replenishment is signed (MIF II). Emphasis on development effectiveness and poverty reduction.

2005

SUPPORTING THE LATIN AMERICA VENTURE CAPITAL ASSOCIATION

The first ranking of the PE/VC environment in key Latam markets (LAVCA Scorecard) is published with our support.

2006

UP TO ONE THOUSAND

1000 projects and over US$1bn approved.

2009

INFRASCOPE

First index evaluating the environment for public-private partnerships in Latin America and the Caribbean.

2009

MICROSCOPE

New global index on business environment for microfinance developed by the EIU, and supported by MIF, CAF and the IFC.

2010

LAUNCH OF ACCESS FRAMEWORK

Our interventions and programs are mainly focused on poor and low-income populations: their households, farms, and businesses. As we saw it, the most effective way to help these individuals and communities overcome poverty in the long term was to address their lack of access to basic services, to finance, to markets and skills.

2010

HAITI EARTHQUAKE

As a response, we established the Haiti Emergency Spending Allocation Request (HESAR), a $3 million emergency program to help 16 local partners in all 10 departments get back in business by restoring their ability to provide services for 338,000 clients and beneficiaries.

2010

PPPAMERICAS

The first PPPAmericas takes place in Bahia, San Salvador

2011

ECOMICRO

Launched with the co-financing of Global Affairs Canada, the Nordic Development Fund, and MIF a program that helps financial institutions create green finance products that build resilience of MSMEs and low-income households to Climate Change.

2011

SUSTAINED COMMITMENT

1600 projects and over US$1.9bn approved.

2012

STAYING RELEVANT

Conclusion from the second independent evaluation in our history: “Innovation is key to the MIF's value added and comparative advantage. The ability to use technical cooperation funds to experiment—and fail—is a luxury few development agencies have. The MIF has been able to remain relevant in the Region thanks to its continued focus on innovation."

2012

NEW EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES (NEO)

Launch of an initiative dedicated to improving the quality of the workforce and the employability of poor and vulnerable youth in Latin America and the Caribbean.

2013

WEXCHANGE

Launch of WeXchange, the platform that connects high-growth women STEM entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean with mentors and investors.

2014

CROWDFUNDING

Launch of the first study about the Crowdfunding ecosystem in Latin America - Crowdfunding Mexico

2014

WEGROW

Launch of WeGrow: Unlocking the Growth Potential of Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean that analyzes the profiles, challenges and opportunities of high-growth women entrepreneurs in nine countries in the region.

2015

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, FOOD, AND ENVIRONMENT (SAFE)

We launch a multi-stakeholder alliance coordinated by Hivos and co-founded by private sector participants, donors, and NGOs that share a common vision: improve the livelihood of farmers through the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices, transforming coffee and cocoa landscapes.

2016

NEW FOCUS

Three new thematic areas: Climate-Smart Agriculture, Inclusive Cities and Knowledge Economy.

2017

FINCONECTA

We announce the first integration program between the global Fintech community and financial institutions in LAC.

2018

SAFE

We approve our first two SAFEs in startups: Simple Agreement for Future Equity.

2018

FOROMIC EVOLVES

The 21st edition of Foromic focuses for the first time on the broader theme of “Reinventing Inclusion”.

2018

NEW BRAND, NEW MISSION

The MIF effectively becomes IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. Our mission, to accelerate inclusion trough innovation in LAC.