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Fundacion Carvajal upgrading living conditions in Buenaventura Colombia

Fundacion Carvajal, upgrading living conditions in Buenaventura, Colombia

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

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

In the district of Buenaventura, located in the Southwest of Colombia, most of the population lives in poverty. In order to cope with unemployment, alarming poverty rates and try to improve their living conditions, a significant part of Buenaventura’s inhabitants resorts to the creation of micro-enterprises. Many of them 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 multiple intermediaries in their distribution channels.

Given the importance of micro-entrepreneurship to contribute to the local family economy and to jobs' creation, Fundación Carvajal has designed a Business Strengthening Programme targeted on the needs of micro-entrepreneurs. The programme provides training covering key commercial disciplines, ranging from finance, administration and marketing, to sales and productivity. It aims to strengthen the business and financial skills of local micro-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.

An external evaluation commissioned by the Trafigura Foundation highlighted the important impact that Fundación Carvajal’s Business Strengthening Programme is having of the livelihoods of its participants. Its business training is helping entrepreneurs change their behaviours and adopt better business practices, improving their livelihoods and the working conditions for their employees.

The positive outcome of the evaluation and the potential for improvement of the programme convinced the Trafigura Foundation to renew its support to Fundación Carvajal’s with a continued partnership over 2021-2023. Furthermore, Fundación Carvajal’s role will be pivotal in helping Buenaventura’s microentrepreneurs recover from the COVID-19 crisis, which is having devastating impact on an already fragile economy, composed by 90% of small businesses.

During the pandemic, Fundación Carvajal already demonstrated the effectiveness of its community-based approach and business knowledge. The organisation launched the Project for an Entrepreneurial Buenaventura, an initiative aimed at supporting the reactivation of businesses closed due to the pandemic. Thanks to its intervention, 101 businesses have been reactivated after the lockdown period.

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