Ericka’s products are used when celebrating events such as marriages, birthdays and communions. Ericka believes that selling school supplies represents an opportunity for her to earn a higher level of income because she lives close to a school and, at the moment, no one else is offering such products for sale.
Ericka has been working over the past ten years in the production and sale of party materials; she started her business with an initial investment of 20,000 colons (approximately 35 USD). She is applying for a loan because she would like to start selling products from her home, as a kind of bazaar. In addition to the party materials she already produces, she has the idea of selling school supplies. This loan will be used to make investments in school supplies and materials necessary to the creation of party materials such as piñatas and handmade invitations.
Ericka makes party materials and piñatas on a per order basis which allows her to customize her products to the needs of her clients. Some of her clients request piñatas in the shape of famous superheroes while others request piñatas resembling famous princesses. Ericka spends, on average, twenty-five hours a week producing and selling her products. Her flexible work schedule allows her to take care of her children and perform domestic duties and allocate the rest of her day to her business.
Ericka’s main obstacle is financial. This loan will provide much needed working capital to get her business off the ground. Additionally, she faces competition in her neighborhood for certain products that she offers. Her goal is to expand her business, secure more clients and earn enough money to finance the studies of her children. In the future she would like to own a store separate from her home where she could sell a variety of products.
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In Costa Rica, funding for microfinance institutions is hard to come by, and many institutions find themselves having difficulty growing and reaching all the demand for loans that exist. Kiva works with Fundacion Mujer because it attends a very marginalized population in Costa Rica, with a specific focus on women. In addition to the loan, Fundacion Mujer provides specialized training programs for their borrowers on everything from computer classes to salon training. Because of the difficulty in obtaining capital in Costa Rica, Fundacion Mujer cannot serve all the women that need loans. Therefore Kiva plays a unique role in helping Fundacion Mujer grow its portfolio and reach borrowers it otherwise would not be able to.
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