A loan of $2,550 helped to buy new materials, such as specialty paper and stuffed animals, and special tools for working with wood and ceramics.


Clara Luz's story

Clara, age 59, lives in a domestic partnership and has 4 grown up sons (ages 33, 37, 39 and 40). She finished Primary School and has been active in her business ever since. Her partner works as a driver and also in agriculture, and helps her economically and emotionally to support the family. Clara´s biggest dream is to travel outside of Guatemala to explore other countries, especially Israel.

She has a creative, eco-friendly business in San Juan del Obispo, close to Antigua,Guatemala. She produces and sells crafted lamps that she distributes nationally with the help of her domestic partner and two of her sons. She uses many recycled items in the construction of her lamps. She has been very successful in past years, but has recently been affected by cheap Asian competition flooding the market.

In order to stay competitive Clara wants to secure a loan of GTQ20,000 over 24 months, in order to reinvest in her business and increase her sales in the future. Her projected monthly profit for 2014 is GTQ8,000, assuming that she sells 1200 lamps of different sizes each month. This implies an increase in profit of 158% compared to her current profit of GTQ3,100 per month.

She wants to invest her loan money in new materials, such as specialty paper and stuffed animals, and in special tools for working with wood and ceramics. She is full of good ideas for new strategies to improve her sales such as finding new clients, hiring one of her sons full time, and starting to produce different styles of lamps, made out of pottery and wood. It is the size and scope of what she is trying to do
that make her an exceptional candidate for the advanced training and larger loan of the Namaste STARZ program.

The STARZ program is unique in the world of microfinance as the loan repayments are tied to the profits of the borrower instead of being fixed payments. Since loan payments are linked to profits she can ride out business cycles or other unforeseen events.

Through the STARZ program high potential women receive intensive business coaching bi-weekly over two to three years. They also receive a formal six-month education in financial literacy and business operations that leads to a diploma in Small and Medium Enterprise Management by the Guatemalan Technical Institute for Training and Productivity (INTECAP).

Credit is not generally available to women with businesses of this size, so an important program element is a right-sized business loan. The women also receive coaching in leadership, economic and gender empowerment, and renegotiating household power relationships. By working with Fundación Namaste Guatemaya, the STARZ participant and her business advisor have a continuous-loop, real-time monitoring, evaluation and learning system.



Loan details


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Loan details