We continue to support the training of female entrepreneurs from Pando-Bolivia

February 22, 2022

With this new edition of the workshop, CAF continues to support the enhancement of women’s entrepreneurial capacities in the Amazon area of Bolivia, aiming to promote the productive development of the Pando department. “Entrepreneurship is about democracy,” said Florentino Fernández, CAF representative in Bolivia, in his closing remarks.

CAF—development Bank of Latin America—promoted the second “Gender and Entrepreneurship: Training Female Entrepreneurs” workshop, which took place on February 10 and 11 in the Bolivian city of Cobija, in the Amazonian department of Pando. Like its first edition in 2021, the workshop was organized by Pando’s Federation of Private Entrepreneurs and taught by Daniel Ardaya, from the SERCOEMP consulting company. On this second occasion, the training focused specifically on how to strengthen a business project, delving into the topics of marketing, production, finance and entrepreneurial management.

The activity was attended by twenty women from Cobija and several surrounding rural communities who are engaged in gastronomic activities, design and manufacture of garments and handicrafts, as well as the provision of services of various kinds. Noteworthy is that the Pando capital is strategically located, due to its proximity to the border: 1,200 kilometers from La Paz and bordering the Brazilian state of Acre. It is also only 113 kilometers from the border with Peru.

The first day of activities included a presentation from CAF’s SME Development Directorate, where specialist Rebeca Vidal explained the importance of SME sustainability in three different dimensions: financial, social and environmental. She said: “it’s important to keep in mind the market we are serving, and whether it can be enlarged, so that the company can grow, together with its social and environmental impact strategies.” She also underlined the role of sustainability at every stage of a venture’s development.

During the second day of training, a talk was given by the Private Sector Analysis and Technical Evaluation Directorate. Nelson Larrea, a specialist in this area, detailed what business partnerships are all about, highlighting the potential benefits, such as a larger scope, negotiation of better conditions, formalization, cost reduction and access to services and credit. He also explained to the attendees the various forms of partnerships, the principles of cooperation and the lessons learned in his work in other Latin American regions.

The closing remarks were given by Florentino Fernández, CAF representative in Bolivia, who stressed the importance of providing continuity to training activities. He additionally highlighted the value of female entrepreneurs as regards their contributions to their communities and countries. “Entrepreneurship is democracy, and it represents personal development and fulfillment for each one of us,” he said.

On the basis of the workshop agenda, which provided elements of entrepreneurial management, Fernández raised several interesting points, especially regarding his vision of the importance of customer service. “A company’s success is in knowing what clients want, and giving them what they want,” said the CAF representative when quoting the American writer John Maxwell, who specializes in training leaders.

CAF will continue to strongly support initiatives in favor of business development in the Bolivian Amazon and its integration into domestic and cross-border markets.

The participants

For Aidee Suárez, president of Pando’s Organization for Resilient Empowered Women (OMERP), the training is of great importance for female entrepreneurs, since it provides them with opportunities to access new knowledge.

“We learn from other experiences and that helps us to continue with our ventures,” said Suárez, representative for the entrepreneurs who work in the areas of garment, manual crafts, pastries, beauty, cosmetics, perfumery, among others. She explained that fairs have been organized to seek out business opportunities on a permanent basis to promote OMERP affiliates’ ventures,.

Tatiana Hinojosa, an entrepreneur in the field of beauty, noted that the knowledge acquired at the workshop will help her improve her initiatives. For example, she owns the Soy Bella Salon, where organic products are marketed. “We have exclusive products. Our flagship product is Vitasol, a hair tonic that prevents hair loss and improves growth and shine. We make this naturally, and it is well renowned among our customers,” explained Hinojosa.