As of 2019, women make up more than 40% of new entrepreneurs worldwide, according to Thrive Global. Studies show that when women are able to develop as entrepreneurs and gain their own financial freedom, they rise out of poverty, their children become healthier, and the overall economic status of a country improves.
In Costa Rica, over the past four years, the Women with Future program has successfully tackled this same goal, training more than 1,525 women across the country in life skills and how to start a business and be entrepreneurs. In cooperation with Walmart Mexico and Central America, the nonprofit Horizontes Foundation began working in 2015 with women and women’s organizations affiliated with the Food Bank.
“The Horizontes Foundation thanks Walmart for the opportunity to develop and execute the Women with Future project, which has provided training in personal leadership, financial education and entrepreneurship to women. Our program has helped women remember their personal value, their ability to move forward, to face their reality in a positive way, and make decisions that improve their quality of life,” a statement from the Horizontes Foundation reads.
The training program, aimed at women in vulnerable life situations, provides them with psychosocial skills to face the challenges and demands of everyday life, along with the basic concepts of entrepreneurship so they can start their own business or improve those they already have.
Addressing one of the biggest obstacles for women to start their own business – the lack of financial resources – the Horizontes Foundation created Solidarity Loans. These zero-interest loans are given out to selected participants, after they have completed their training, to develop their business idea. So far, 42 entrepreneurs have received the benefit – with a total of ¢21,126,912.13 borrowed – and are developing businesses in foodservice, sewing and textiles, beauty, crafts, and jewelry, among others. Most of the women have already begun paying back their loans.
Throughout the country, 175 communities have been impacted by the Women with Future program, and 100% of the women say overall their lives have improved, reports the Horizontes Foundation.
“I think that ‘Women with Future’ are all those who are going for something better, wanting to move forward with a goal to prosper, a vision of growth and progress to improve our lives and those of others. It is an excellent project and thanks to these Horizontes Foundation training. They give us the basic tools to start our projects and businesses and see how our dreams come true. Thanks to the support of this foundation that believes in women like me and many more who want to grow,” said Karla Torres, of the province of Heredia, who has a business fabricating bags of all kinds.
The Horizontes Foundation now hopes to expand the Women with Future program in the coastal regions of Costa Rica and in Belize and Panama. To develop the project, funds are needed to provide training and seed capital for Solidarity Loans. Contact the Horizontes Foundation if you’d like to support this commendable program.
Learn more about the Horizontes foundation here!