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Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in Guatemala

February 9, 2015

I have had the opportunity to visit 4 women entrepreneurs of Fundación Namaste Guatemaya to see in practice how our field partner helps make Guatemalan women entrepreneurs be successful in their business. The women I visited are part of the Namaste Business Development Program. Namaste does not only disburse the loan but also provides education and mentorship during the nine month loan cycle. A personal business advisor visits the borrower every month to give advice on how to improve their business and hold track of their income and expenses. They ask about family situation, health, and any other circumstances that can influence the success of their business. Next to these visits, Namaste offers the women 5 educational sessions focusing on business development and financial literacy.

Here are the stories of 4 Kiva borrowers:

Rosa runs a small shop selling gifts, kitchen wear, snacks, soft drinks and some fruit like mandarins from her own tree in the backyard. She works long days with opening hours from 6:00 am until 8 pm. She used the loan to invest in more articles to sell in her shop. Her business advisor, Yeni, advised her to put a sign outside her shop to create more visibility in order to increase her sales.

Alva's new 'choco banano' icecream

Alva sells gifts, school articles, and soon the best ice cream in town, her ‘choco banano’. She used the loan to invest in a freezer so she has a more diverse product range which will increase her income. Yeni advised her to promote the new product by advertising in town so people know where to get the best icecream in town.

Wanda's tortilla bakery

Wanda produces about 800 tortillas each day. She buys the whole grain maize and grinds them to maize flour. She mixes the flour with water, then clapping the dough between her hands, and toasts them on her new tortilla stove. She used the loan to invest in a new gas stove. Before she used a wood fire to toast the tortillas. Gas is cleaner and faster, and with this investment she could increase her production and improve her working conditions.

Gloria's craft(wo)manship

Gloria proudly shows all her iron crafts. This month she had the honor to make a processional lantern for the local church. The loan helped her to invest in tools to work her iron. She has very good craft(wo)manship and her orders have increased since she participated in Namaste’s Business Development Program.

The women taking part in the program have an average increase of 30% of their income. Fundación Namaste is an example organization to make microfinance work!

For more information please visit http://namastedirect.org/ or finance a new loan http://www.kiva.org/partners/292

Video: The best way to reach clients is by motorbike.Get an impression of Guatemala from the back of a motorbike http://youtu.be/EW6NFZ3SeDI

Kiva Fellow Bas, business advisor Yeni and business trainer Mario