Justina Oroncoy, founder of Dairy La Vaquita Products
by Sangeeta Waldron
Peru is one of the best countries in South America for women entrepreneurs, as 40% of businesses there are owned by women. Yet these women face many challenges in growing their businesses, from lack of access to capital, to networks, education and training, and a culture of entrepreneurship. For these women to achieve entrepreneurial success, they need tools and programs specifically tailored to their business needs. This is why public-private partnerships play an important part, helping these women break down barriers. Championing female business owners in Peru, is Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde and its Emprende program, which supports small and medium enterprises in the surrounding mining operations located near Arequipa.
The Emprende program provides financial and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and businesses in the districts of Uchumayo, Tiabaya, Yarabamba and La Joya. Another Cerro Verde initiative dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs, is its ‘DreamBuilder’ program, specifically designed for women. Yet, while women tend to have the drive to start their own ventures in Peru, they face many obstacles to grow their ideas, including access to capital and business training. This means that businesses remain at a low-profit, ‘focus on survival’ level, and motivated, entrepreneurial women aren’t given the opportunities for success that they should be given. Another issue in Peru is domestic violence; the UN has reported that over 48% of women there have suffered from domestic violence. This is why strengthening female-run enterprises will ensure that more women have greater independence in their lives.
Accessibility to business training is key, as it shows immediate results, from increase of sales to adoption of recommended business practices. Recognising this, the Ministry of Women in Peru has incorporated DreamBuilder into its programs for victims of domestic violence. The Ministry has an agreement with Cerro Verde to expand the use of DreamBuilder. While the Governor of Arequipa Province announced her support for DreamBuilder and made completing the program a must for participation in her new initiative, ‘lniciativa de Inclusion de la mujer emprendedora’ (lnclusion of Women Entrepreneurs initiative).
Janeth Coaguila and her husband José Luis Sotelo successfully developed their restaurant, ‘A Leña y Batán,’ in Yarabamba, specialising in family recipes and grilled meats. Coaguila participated in the DreamBuilder training program, sponsored by Freeport-McMoRan, the Thunderbird School of Global Management and Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde. She focused her studies on finance and marketing, and with her new skills expanded the business revenues and customer base. Another positive business story is Justina Oroncoy, who started Dairy La Vaquita Products, an organic dairy company that produces and sells yogurt, cheese and other milk-based products. Oroncoy is growing her business and plans to open her own shopfront to expand sales.
The strength, confidence, independence and legacy these enterprises are giving the future generations of girls here is vital in a country where gender inequality is rife. DreamBuilder is allowing them to create a far greater chance of success and to dream differently.
Photo Credit:Freeport-McMoRan on 3BL Media