Fostering financial inclusion

  • Case A vision and strategy for Colombia’s micro-entrepreneurs, based on a deep understanding of user needs
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  • Client Bancóldex
  • Industry Financial services
  • Capabilities Business Design

    Brand Design
    Design Research
    Service Design
Bancoldex Header Crop

How can we foster financial inclusion, after decades of conflict have left rifts of inequality? As Colombia’s development bank, Bancóldex came to Designit in need of a strategy to reach the country’s forgotten segment, its micro-entrepreneurs. Together we defined a vision, based on a whole new understanding of their users’ needs.

An economist might call them “micro” entrepreneurs, but how relevant is this to someone who pours their life into a business, that could in turn change their life? Rather than exclude them from the beginning with “micro”, we called our users “progress leaders”.


Bancóldex needed a new strategy – one that would speak to the needs of the forgotten micro-entrepreneurs, or “progress leaders” as we came to know them. To gain a deep understanding of the people we were designing for, we needed to learn about their situation, their challenges, opportunities and goals, and most importantly their own perception of progress. Our team went out to all five regions of Colombia to not just interview but immerse themselves in our users’ homes and workplaces to fully understand the context of their lives.


Our research revealed a fundamental difference in how progress is viewed by Bancóldex, and Colombia’s progress leaders themselves. Bancóldex measured their success based on the number of loans they gave out each year. But the help progress leaders need goes beyond financial – they need the skills and knowledge to turn any loan into a successful business. Based on this key insight, Bancóldex’s vision for the future is to help Colombians achieve progress in their whole lives, beyond the loan itself.

“We seek to take a step further in the economic development of this country, generating opportunities for people who want a new form of entrepreneurship. We care about contributing to post-conflict Colombia, we care about fostering financial inclusion, and we care about making Colombia a better country.” Maria del Mar Palau, Former Strategy Vice-President, Bancóldex


Bancóldex gained a whole new understanding of their target audience, and a clear vision for financial inclusion in Colombia. With an actionable strategy, service concept and visual identity that speaks to their users and is tailored to their needs, Bancóldex is positioned for success.

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