UCL Department of Geography


Lourdes Toledo Tapia

Research Title

Empowering enterprises?  Microentrepreneurship programmes for women in Guadalajara, Mexico

More About Lourdes

I was awarded my MA degree in Globalisation, Ethnicity and Culture by the University of Sussex in Brighton, and my undergraduate degree in International Business from the International Undergraduate Programme at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara in Mexico. During my undergraduate degree I spent a year at the INSEEC Paris to then return a couple of years later as the assistant of the Mexican Ambassador in France as part of an internship at the house of UNESCO in 2010.

In February 2015 I was invited as a speaker to the Latin-American Forum for Impact Investment (Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto FLII 2015) which took place in Merida, Yucatan where I gave a talk titled “Impact investment or investment WITH impact?: The concept of empowerment”. After my participation at FLII 2015 I was interviewed in the radio show Reinventa MX at the Mexican Institute of the Radio and a month after that I was awarded a scholarship for a diploma in Social Market Economy by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung foundation.

I am passionate for social entrepreneurship which has lead me to collaborate with enterprises in Mexico and most recently also in England with the social enterprise ENACTUS where I was a consultant in 2014-2015. I am also an avid lover of Mexican cuisine, classical music and opera.

With the aid of a CONACyT scholarship I am presently conducting my PhD research on gender, empowerment and microenterprise development.

Research Interests

I wish to understand the relevance of the idea of empowerment in initiatives targeting women in Mexico, and, more specifically, in microenterprise development programmes. The main aim of my research is to explore whether such programmes provide tools and spaces for women to develop their own process of empowerment.

I have chosen to explore these questions through a case study: a grassroots microenterprise development programme for women operating in peri-urban communities in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city. My main research question is: Do microenterprise development programmes contribute to women’s empowerment in Mexico? And if so, how? I intend to explore three central themes: empowerment, microenterprise development and gender.