María is part of the communal bank “Luz de Esperanza” and resides in the city of Concepción. María makes empanadas and sells them wholesale to a business, a fixed client. She complete orders and delivers at weekends. María also produces baked goods, such as tarts and candies, when she receives pre-orders. In the summer María makes corn pot pie (similar to chicken pot pie but with a freshly made corn crust) and humitas (corn tamales). For many years María has owned an industrial oven. At first, she purchased it without any intention of using it for business reasons, but when her husband died, about 13 years ago, she began to use it to cook and soon after started selling her products. In the future, María dreams of owning a small restaurant, occupying a space in her home.
With this loan María will purchase materials out of stock and would like to start gathering materials for mid-November, to make panettone bread for Christmas. She has valued the weekly payment structure of Kiva partner, Fondo Esperanza, which helps her remain organized with her accounting. María has benefited from lessons on business administration.
Concepción sits in the mouth of the BioBío River, one of the largest in the country, south of Chile, within the BíoBío region. Concepción has had an important role in the history of Chile, as home to major battles and important settlements, especially during the War of Arauco, and borders the Mapuche territory (indigenous settlement). Currently, the city has an important economic and demographic, administrative, financial and most important commercial relevance for Chile, right after Santiago and Valparaíso.
About Fondo Esperanza
Fondo Esperanza (FE) is a private non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurship by providing micro-credit and training to people living in poverty in well over 100 cities throughout Chile. By providing these services, FE aims to improve the living conditions of the entrepreneurs and their families. In 2010, FE provided loans to more than 41,000 entrepreneurs. It utilizes a communal banking model in which groups of 18 to 25 clients meet on regularly and guarantee each other’s loans. The members use their portion of the loan to create or expand their own businesses. In the group meetings, clients receive training though the FE Entrepreneurship School, which enhances clients’ personal and business skills and ability to work in groups.