A loan of $3,500 helped a member to buy fruit and vegetables.

Grandes Comerciantes Group's story

María, 51, has gotten ahead despite various obstacles that have arisen in her life. Despite her wish of becoming a professional, she was only able to finish secondary school. She separated from her husband and this was a very difficult obstacle to overcome. Because she lives alone she never had children. She lives in Chigüilpe Parish, 15 minutes from the center of Santo Domingo, capital city of Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas Province, a very commercially active place that’s become a land port of exchange between the mountain and coastal regions of Ecuador.

This parish has several cement dwellings and others that are a blend of wood and cement. It has a river that’s very popular with tourists and residents partake of various sports while also having the opportunity of learning about the Tsáchila culture through sharing legends and storytelling around campfires. Santo Domingo is the third most populous city in the region and also has agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing and manufacturing since it’s become a place for commercial interchange between the country’s mountain and coast regions.

María leads the “Grandes Comerciantes” (Great Merchants) group, a group of four persons who joined together seeking the same goal: to find support to improve and grow in businesses they started some years ago to improve their and their families’ quality of life.

María sells fruit and vegetables in a small space set aside at home. She started this activity ten years ago because she needed to contribute towards household expenses. She now must cover her needs and all household expenses like utilities, occasional repairs, etc. by herself. This enterprising woman needs a loan to buy a larger variety of fruit and vegetables to increase income to help her have a better quality of life.

Her enterprising friends like her, Karen, Jaime and Carmen, carry out a variety of activities. Karen, 19, is single and has a son attending school. She sells cosmetics from place to place and needs to buy products that are on special sale to get better prices. Jaime, like María, sells fruit and vegetables and wants to buy seasonal fruit to increase sales. Carmen has two children. She sells shoes and casual clothes. She will invest in a wider variety of products.

These people have faced business growth obstacles due to lack of capital and credit opportunities. In order to reach their objective now, they called on a branch office Fundación Alternativa has in Santo Domingo where they were met with trust and flexibility. The members of this group have hard work and effort they do daily in common and none of them have ever given up because the personal and family motivation the group has in common is hard, dedicated work they do every day to reach their dreams.

In this group: Maria Georgina, Maria Carmen, Jaime Anibal, Carmen Marlene

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Polliz

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