A loan of $3,850 helped a member purchase 18 kilograms of potatoes.

Sonrisas Frente Al Mar Group's story

This community bank is called "Smiles by the Sea." It is made up of 18 small business owners who work selling various products and services including: used clothing, emapanadas (fried bread with meat or other fillings), avocados, tomatoes, plaster figurines, cakes and baked goods, and a variety of services. All the members live in the city of Valparaiso.

Jorge, president of the community bank, is standing in the first row in the photo second from the left with the red polo shirt and gray vest. He has short, dark gray hair. He has worked selling peeled and chopped potatoes in vacuum sealed bags for one year. He says that he works practically every day. He brings his goods to certain established locations and also delivers directly to clients' homes. His work schedule depends on his availability and his clients'.

He purchases his merchandise from distributors that specialize in offering their products at a low cost, therefore it's the best choice economically. With the loan Jorge will purchase 18 kilograms of potatoes.

His goals are to establish a small store in his house because he has enough space and to become a small businessman.

Jorge lives with his brother who works in a pastry shop. He dreams of buying a potato peeler and a potato slicer for his business to make his own supply of pre-sliced potatoes and thus keep more of the profits.

He is pleased and thankful for the opportunity provided by Fondo Esperanza (The Hope Fund) to invest in his business. Also, he feels very comfortable with the group because they are united and respect and trust one another. He has appreciated the trainings offered at the meetings, and he has learned how to run his business better.

Valparaiso is located 120 kilometers Northeast of Santiago. It is the regional capital and the seat of the national legislature. It is the largest port in the country and has many beautiful locations, for example the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda's home,

In this group: Jorge, Maria, Catherin, Julia, Maritza, Francis, Carolina, Yasna, Cristian, Marcela, Dayans, Fabiola, Karen, Juan, Yolanda, Raquel, German, Raquel

Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Patrick King

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