A loan of $1,050 helped buying fiber, sesame, peanut, coconut, and honey to make nougat candy.

Gustavo's story

Gustavo A. T. is 56 years old. He lives in Barranquilla in the neighborhood Me Quejo ("I complain"), a name demonstrating the barranquilleros' good sense of humor. Gustavo is separated from his wife and has two kids, who are 27 and 10 years old. His eldest daughter is a ballet dancer finishing her degree in music, while his younger child studies.

Gustavo is from the department of Northern Santander. He came to Barranquilla when he was young and started his own business seven years later after selling merchandise, like shampoo, door to door. Gustavo's business is named "Productos Naturales Renacer" ("Natural Products Reborn"), and he makes natural food products like fiber, granola, and oatmeal. In a country where nearly all the population eats a lot of meat or a lot of fish, it is uncommon to find someone like Gustavo, who has been a vegetarian for thirty years.

It was his vegetarianism that led Gustavo to study vegetarian food and gave him the idea to start his business. When he started, he only had one pan to make his food. Now he prepares the food in an oven, and during his three years of loans with the Mario Santo Domingo Foundation he has been able to buy a refrigerator, meat grinder, and other kitchen tools necessary to increase his production. Additionally, through the Foundation's programs, he obtained his registration with INVIMA, the organization that controls and oversees the quality of food products in Colombia. Currently, he sells his products in vegetarian restaurants and natural food stores in Barranquilla. His goal is to break into the chain grocery store market and promote his products there. His biggest goal is also his biggest challenge, seeing as he currently lacks the funds necessary to reach this step.

Gustavo is asking for a loan of $2.000.000, which he wants to invest in fiber and increasing his production of nougat candy made of sesame, peanut, coconut, and honey. He recently started making nougat candy and he has been very successful, but it is necessary to invest money to have a greater cooking capacity. Gustavo is also thinking about promoting his products with cards he wants to print. In the future, he dreams about having his own home in Villas San Pablo, a macroproject of houses where the Foundation has started the construction of a healthy community.

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Lydia Brantley

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