142 Central Pacific Producers Grow their Businesses
One hundred and forty-two micro, small and medium enterprises in the central Pacific now have better tools for growing their businesses. These producers of honey, avocado, cashew, cheese and honey derivative, along with local rural tourism enterprises, were participants in the Value Chain Business Strengthening project, which wrapped up its activities on November 22.
Executed by FUNDES Costa Rica, the initiative was part of the Reaching for Scale program of the Costa Rica USA Foundation for Cooperation (CRUSA), the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB-MIF), and the Costa Rican government’s Tejiendo Desarrollo program.
For more than a year, the project provided the producers with advisory and training on a variety of business topics, helping them to professionalize their operations, forge business ties with other companies and boost their business growth, among other things.
As FUNDES Costa Rica Project Manager Fiorella Blanco explains, “what the program sought to do was encourage the producers to visualize their future and develop and grow their businesses by increasing their knowledge of business management. Some of the topics it addressed were marketing, advertising, added value and costing, among others, which helped them professionalize their operation and create productive linkages.”
“As a result of this business professionalization, these entrepreneurs will be able to access more formal markets and therefore expand their customer portfolio. This will enable them to sell more products or services, thereby improving their own and their families’ living conditions,” added Blanco.
“What we want is to give producers the tools for developing more attractive products that people are willing to pay more for. At times like the ones our country is going through, projects like this are essential for diversifying and energizing domestic production, applying high quality standards that will open doors, even in the most demanding markets,” noted Flora Montealegre, CRUSA’s executive delegate.
Thanks to the Value Chain Business Strengthening project, some 65% of the producers forged business linkages, increasing their incomes by 14%, and some 40% of the beneficiaries started the process of formalizing their businesses.
The project also achieved the installation of new business practices, access to investment loans, improvement of profit margins, and implementation of marketing and sales plans.
Helping with the project were key stakeholders in the central Pacific region such as the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy (MIDEPLAN), the National Animal Health Service (SENASA), the Export Promotion Agency of Costa Rica (PROCOMER), the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the State Distance Learning University (UNED), local governments, the Rural Development Institute (INDER), the Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), and the Puntarenas Chamber of Commerce.