Ever since she started, 17 years ago now, Rosa saw the business opportunity in making bricks: “I started with a company and for the last eight years I have been doing this on my own. Some women friends and I decided to learn the trade from the experts. I managed to keep myself going with the help of programs, my own funding and help from friends”, she reminisces, sitting on one of the enormous piles of bricks that are drying in the intense sun.
But an earthquake in 2010 snatched everything from her: she lost her house and her business. The machines, the tools and the raw material were all destroyed. Rosa needed to get her life back and help from the government was not forthcoming. So she decided to go to Fondo Esperanza for funding and to get the factory going again. In just two months, she was already a member of the community bank Santa Sofía con esperanza y esfuerzo [Saint Sofia with hope and effort], which gave her the boost she needed to carry on expanding as a microentrepreneur and to consolidate her brick business. “It was a great help, it arrived at just the right time”, she says, convinced.
Thanks to Fondo Esperanza’s financing she could reduce her debts and buy the hoses, brick molds and forklifts with which she works now with her employees, who fill in the molds by hand and stack the bricks in the sun so that the clay hardens. “My experience with Fondo Esperanza has been an enriching one because of the confidence and respect they have shown me right from the beginning. Before they came along I had no support and nobody treated me so well, their values have changed me”, she explains.
Rosa encourages other Chilean women to follow her example, to fight for their dreams without caring whether they are in a world which may appear to be led only by men.
“I invite all entrepreneurial women to get motivated and go to the offices of Fondo Esperanza; it is a great opportunity to become women who make a contribution to the country, not just at home, but also outside it”.
“You have to organize yourself and have a vision for the future”, she says, proudly. That is why she attaches so much value to the courses that the BBVA Microfinance Foundation institution has given her, which have enabled her to improve her enterprise management. “Before, I didn’t know what a School for Entrepreneurs was. Nobody had explained what fixed and variable costs are… all this helps my business go better”, points out this natural entrepreneur.
To expand her business and sell bricks further afield, Rosa wants to buy a vehicle. Her dream has no limits and she is already thinking about exporting to other countries: “Fondo Esperanza is the cornerstone I need in all my plans in order to reach my goals. This institution is the anchor from which I set my goals and I am going to achieve them”, she concludes.