One woman wanted to invest in a crochet business – shawls, hats, scarfs, table runners – she had a contact in Italy that would help sell them there. Another wanted to expand her business of selling clothes – diversifying to selling shoes and tennis shoes. Another woman wanted to expand her tienda.
These women are new members of CESPPO, ESPERA’s newest partner organization. Located in Los Pinos and El Sunza, CESPPO is based in the western side of El Salvador, in a mountainous region with volcanic lakes.
What makes CESPPO unique is that it is a Salvadoran association of cooperatives, mostly coffee farming and honey and sugarcane production. Many of the members of CESPPO are men, but CESPPO engaged with ESPERA to start a women’s group focused on entrepreneurship. This entrepreneurial group of women is made up of female CESPPO members, and wives, sisters, and neighbors of male CESPPO members.
In 2021 when the CESPPO ESPERA group first met there were more women requesting loans than the initial pool could fulfill. At that time they gave out 14 loans – to 13 women working individual businesses and one group of 7 women working in a cooperative producing clothing dyed with anil (indigo). So, in 2022 Mary’s Pence gave CESPPO another grant for their lending pool and an additional 18 women received loans, including the woman who was expanding her crochet craft sales, the woman who was expanding her clothing business to sell shoes, and the woman expanding her local tienda.
We look forward to future growth – new women and new businesses!