Courageous social justice entrepreneur

Barbara Schmidt-Rahmer ’80 founded Vencer Juntos that provides mcrofinance and consulting for small businesses in Brazil.

To Barbara Schmidt-Rahmer, a Foreign Fellow from Germany, one year did not seem enough to take advantage of all the opportunities Mount Holyoke had to offer.  Instead, the “excellent courses in international politics and friendly atmosphere” convinced her to stay and get her A.B. degree.  

After graduating from Mount Holyoke and earning advanced degrees from both Yale and Harvard, Barbara worked for Standard & Poor’s, UNICEF in Brazil, and Women’s World Banking, a non-profit organization.  However, becoming a social justice entrepreneur was her dream. She worked patiently to acquire the needed training, professional experience and enough money to finance such an endeavor. After nine years of saving much of her corporate salary and refusing an offer of promotion, Barbara embarked on what she felt was her “life calling.”

She decided to settle in Brazil and founded Vencer Juntos, (Portuguese for Winning Together), a small business that provides consulting for recipients of microfinance funds. After ten years of existence, Vencer Juntos has become one of the best organized “Community Revolving Fund” programs in Brazil. It has helped over 600 small businesses and 3,000 families.