MEDELLIN, Colombia – Eager to make money, boost the economy of their communities and feel productive, women entrepreneurs are setting the pace in their regions with business ventures of their own invention, and which they consolidate as micro-enterprises once they’ve learned the ropes.
Among them is Beatriz Florez, who managed to take her simple production and sales unit to a new level. What started as a modest stand for selling French fries later evolved into the popular D’kche Burger restaurant chain in the Bello municipality of the northwest Colombian province of Antioquia.
After much improvising, almost no profits and a quick cooking course, the businesswoman set out on the road to success after attending a workshop in finance for the owners of new enterprises. It “opened” her mind, she said, and endowed her with “a new vision.”
“I understood that the next step was to establish the venture as a solid business. Today we have 34 employees, we’re out to launch our own brand of hamburger meat and we’re working our way to becoming a franchise,” Florez said.
The Interactuar Corporation, which helps create companies in Colombia through financial credits and training, said that with its experience it’s a valuable ally in aiding women find success in developing new ventures that can later grow into micro-enterprises and companies.
Close to 60 percent of the business ventures we advise and support belong to women,” Interactuar Executive Director Andres Montoya told EFE, adding that the corporation works with over 45,000 business owners every year.
For Montoya, “a venture headed by a woman normally moves forward and lasts longer.”
He said that most businesswomen they train are heads of family, which seems to give them “greater discipline.”
In Campamento, a municipality five hours from Medellin with problems of violence and little chance of economic development, Eliana Patricia Casas created La Libertad, an agricultural company which with its production of raw cane sugar transformed the lives of a number of inhabitants in the El Yerbal settlement.
Her production unit currently employs 12 people in the region and her business keeps growing, because, she said, “the market changed” with more modern machinery for a higher quality product and strengthens a company for which word of mouth is its “best ally.”