More than half of them come from the most vulnerable sectors of society, and being self-employed significantly improves the quality of life of their families.
There are nearly half a million entrepreneurs in Chile, of whom nearly 600,000 are women, 50% more than in 2000 and more than twice the figure in 1990. “More than half a million Chilean women have chosen entrepreneurship as their main economic activity. Around half are people who belong to the 60% of the population with the lowest income and find it difficult to access funding”, explained Pablo Coloma, general manager of Emprende Microfinanzas, a BBVA Microfinance Foundation institution that grants loans to small entrepreneurs.
Coloma said that one thing that women like about entrepreneurship is the possibility of reconciling the generation of income with caring for their families much better than they would be able to by working as wage earners.
This is why more and more women are turning to entrepreneurship. In fact, in the Microentrepreneurship Survey (EME) conducted by the Ministry of Economy, microentrepreneur women say that their main motivations for working as entrepreneurs are that “it enables me to do household chores” (86%), “it enables me to be flexible in terms of the hours worked” (86%), “I can make the most of my skills” (83%), and “it gives me greater satisfaction” (83%)”.
“As a Productive Finance institution –says the executive– we are proud that more than 60% of our customers are precisely women from the most vulnerable sectors in the country, who are improving their chances in life through their own effort and can better care for their families, thanks to their discipline and effort in working as self-employed”.
A case to follow
Lisbeth Cáceres is one of the many Chilean women who work as entrepreneurs, thanks to the development of her business, which manufactures clothing and items for women.
By taking on the challenge she became one of the more than half a million women in Chile who have dared to be entrepreneurs, set up their own business and improve the quality of life of their families by being their own boss.
Although she initially set up her business in the Quilpué fair to offer items for the town’s amateur soccer players, little by little and “on request” she expanded her offering to lotions, oils and natural health products. Today, the business offers a large variety of infusions, so many in fact that the owner herself has lost count. The business was doing so well that it was expanded. At one point it had three stands in various fairs, until she decided to grow her business, to think big.
With a great deal of effort, savings and applying for a loan, she took the plunge and set up a business in downtown Quilpué.
“Everything people asks for and buys. Lotions and oils for wrinkles, for pimples, for relaxing, for motivating, for recovering from depression, for succeeding, and even for difficult husbands” says Lisbeth. That is why she needed to expand the premises and this led this entrepreneur woman to get into debt and ask Emprende Microfinanzas for a loan. “My parents were always storekeepers and from them I inherited this passion for entrepreneurship and for looking for options in trade, it’s in my blood and I love it, I’m very happy of having a place where you are trusted and you can grow and develop”, stressed Lisbeth.