The Business Strengthening programme promoted by the Fundaciòn Carvajal enhances the opportunities of microentrepreneurs from vulnerable areas of Buenaventura, by fostering their entrepreneurial, managerial, and life skills.

The district of Buenaventura, located in the Southwest of the country, is the main receiving district of migratory flow in the Colombian Pacific. Despite its increasing importance to the country’s economic future, most of Buenaventura’s population lives in poverty.

In order to cope with alarming poverty rates, unemployment, and try to improve their living conditions, a significant part of Buenaventura’s population resorts to the creation of micro-enterprises. Many micro-entrepreneurs in highly vulnerable areas from Buenaventura are owned by people with minimal schooling, who generally do not have enough assets or working capital, whose businesses lack an administrative structure, depend on usurious credit, and have lots of intermediaries in their distribution channels.

Given the importance of micro-entrepreneurship to contribute to the local family economy and to jobs creation, the Fundación Carvajal has designed a programme called Business Strengthening. The programme provides targeted training covering key commercial disciplines, ranging from finance, administration and marketing, to sales and productivity. It aims at strengthening the business and financial skills of local entrepreneurs, thereby upgrading their living conditions and promoting the sustainable growth of their productive unit.

I learned how to manage the business, how to use money, how to make the business grow. Computing classes were very important, I learned how to make an invoice in Excel and use Word to make announcements,” says ice-cream shop owner Darlyn Caicedo.

Supported by the Trafigura Foundation, Carvajal has also developed a virtual learning platform, which will facilitate training at a lower cost and increase learning access for remote communities. This platform will benefit especially micro-entrepreneurs who cannot easily attend classroom-based training, such as mothers of young children.

The main objective of the programme is to reach 450 micro-entrepreneurs in 3 years, through a complete business programme characterized by classroom trainings, onsite support and online tools piloting a virtual learning community.

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Key figures


entry-level entrepreneurs completed the programme


advanced level entrepreneurs completed the programme

96 entry-level entrepreneurs completed the programme
50 advanced level entrepreneurs completed the programme

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