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For Immediate Release Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C)

Citi Structured a $6 Million Loan to Sempli to Support Small and Micro Business Growth in Colombia

September 26, 2023

Approximately 40% of the total loan amount will support women-led enterprises

BOGOTA - Citi announced a US$6 million local currency loan to Sempli, an inclusive financial technology company providing working capital financing to micro, small and medium enterprises (SME) in Colombia. 

This is Sempli’s first financing from an international commercial bank, demonstrating Citi’s commitment to economic inclusion and innovative companies developing disruptive business models targeting underserved segments of the population.

The loan is structured under the Scaling Enterprise program backed by the U.S. International Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Ford Foundation that aims to promote businesses with high social impact. It is estimated that least 40% of the total loan amount will support women-led enterprises in Colombia.

“Throughout Citi’s more than 100 years of uninterrupted operations in Colombia, the bank’s mission has always been focused on enable growth and economic progress in the communities we serve.  We are proud to offer this financing, which will contribute to the financial inclusion of thousands of Colombian business owners who lack formal financial support and who play a critial role supporting their families and communities,” remarked Elizabeth Rey, Citi Country Officer in Colombia. 

Citi awarded the loan as part of its Social Finance Strategy in partnership with high-impact investors and multilateral development organizations to broaden access to credit in low- and mid-income countries. 

“Citi’s social finance strategy is designed to reach 15 million people, 10 million of them women, giving them more opportunities to access financing to develop their businesses and further their economic empowerment,” explained Borja García, Head of Structuring and Latin America and the Caribbean at Citi Social Finance.

The loan, part of Citi’s US$ 1 billion commitment to sustainable financing by 2030, contributes to progress toward several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Goal 1, No Poverty; Goal 5, Gender Equality; and Goal 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth. In support of Goal 5, Sempli has worked with USAID to launch a credit line for female entrepreneurs called “Mujeres Empresarias” (Women in Business).

“At Sempli we are thrilled to deepen our alliance with Citi. Through this loan we will be able to continue supporting the responsible growth of thousands of entrepreneurs in our country and with a special lens on businesswomen who lead and own their businesses. This funding gives us confidence to continue growing our platform, and we aim to strengthen the financial health of our customers through term loans for growth purposes and payment solutions to provide working capital to the same segment,” explained Esteban Velasco, CEO and cofounder of Sempli.

“DFC is proud to support expanded access to capital for small businesses in Colombia facing barriers to financing, especially women-owned and -led enterprises.  DFC’s work to help expand economic inclusion to underserved communities and advance women’s economic empowerment is central to our mission,” shared James Polan, Vice President of DFC’s Office of Development Credit.

“At Ford Foundation, we are taking active steps to knock down barriers to capital throughout the Global South by helping to scale up companies that have been historically excluded from financial services and opportunities," said Ford Foundation Head of Mission Investments Roy Swan. "We are proud to partner with Citi and the DFC to help direct these critical resources to Colombian entrepreneurs, many of them women, whose businesses are central to helping their communities thrive." 

About Citi 

Citi is a preeminent banking partner for institutions with cross-border needs, a global leader in wealth management and a valued personal bank in its home market of the United States. Citi does business in nearly 160 countries and jurisdictions, providing corporations, governments, investors, institutions and individuals with a broad range of financial products and services. 

Additional information may be found at | Twitter: @Citi | LinkedIn: | YouTube: | Facebook:

About Sempli

Sempli is a leading digital lending and payment platform for small businesses in Colombia.  Sempli offers term loans, credit card and payment solutions to thousands of small businesses that are underbanked and have financing needs for working capital and growth.

Additional information may be found at | LinkedIn: Instagram: | Facebook: | YouTube: | Twitter: @Sempli_co 

About DFC

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. We invest across sectors including energy, healthcare, infrastructure, agriculture, and small business and financial services. DFC investments adhere to high standards and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

About Ford Foundation 

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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