PriceSmart Foundation partnered with the renowned Central American business school, INCAE to equip women entrepreneurs in Honduras with improved business expertise! From October 2022 to June 2023, 40 women leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises participated in a business accelerator program called “Empresarias Progresando” or “EMPRO” run by INCAE, and co-funded by PriceSmart Foundation, to deepen their business knowledge and learn how to grow their companies. Participants learned management skills and worked with mentors to identify their strengths and better strategize for the future. PriceSmart shared labeling, food safety, and quality standards they look for in potential suppliers to help the women prepare to negotiate more and larger distribution contracts. The businesses also learned about how to access financing for their businesses and had the opportunity to pitch to local banks.
In less than a year, 27 of the 40 participants increased their monthly sales by an average of 35%, and 17 secured new market contracts. The participants also created a total of 38 new jobs (two-thirds of them women) across their businesses, allowing them to expand their products and services. Several businesses were selected to present their goods at PriceSmart through Roadshow kiosks. PriceSmart Foundation is excited to see how these businesses continue to grow in the coming years! Small and medium-sized businesses are a great way to invest in local communities.
Participants have been enthusiastic about the program and its positive impact on their businesses. You can read their stories below:
Lesly of Alenic, a custom furniture manufacturer, increased her monthly sales by 56% over the course of the training from US$3,200 to US$5,000! Lesly says that through EMPRO, “I developed an entirely new perspective of my business. While I was once flying on instinct, I am now able to analyze our strengths and weaknesses and focus our energies on determining and implementing a clear, logical, organized plan to improve the business. We are now working hard to formalize our processes and improve our administration and will soon be ready to present an innovative new business model that we expect will delight our customers.”
María of Terra Verde, which sells healthy tortillas and chips, stated that the classes allowed her to understand the strengths and weaknesses that she has as a business owner and to identify new market opportunities, strategize for future growth, and strengthen her existing product line. María feels more confident in her management skills, and in her ability to analyze problems and make sound decisions. Her monthly sales increased from US$4,000 at the beginning of the program to US$6,400 by the end. “Thanks to EMPRO, I managed to secure financial support to be able to purchase custom printed packaging.”
Thelma of DiCarne sausage company said her “vision for her company changed thanks to EMPRO.” The program showed her a “complete vision of the business and how to make decisions to improve the structure, development, and efficiency of [her] operations”. Over the course of the program, Thelma increased her annual sales from US $6,000 to US$14,000 and sold her sausages at PriceSmart as both a Roadshow and as a short-term product vendor!
Iris of Del Fulano, which makes sauces and jams, said that while EMPRO took her out of her comfort zone, it inspired her to set big goals for her company. She found many ways to improve her company, such as introducing written standardized processes and optimizing the efficiency of her operations. The mentorship component of the program helped her to prioritize which initial changes would be most effective, and how to tackle them one by one. During EMPRO Iris featured her sauces in PriceSmart as a Roadshow vendor!