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• Guatemala
• El Salvador
• Honduras

Service Centers for the Entrepreneurial Endeavors of Women

Service Centers for the Entrepreneurial Endeavors of Women (CSEM, by its acronym in Spanish) are territorial entities that provide technical and fnancial services to foster the undertakings of women in a way that will contribute to the creation of jobs and incomes which are competitive and support the dynamization of the local economies.

Women are actors who contribute to the economy of their ountries through productive activities, regarding both products and services, and yet their participation in economic environments is usually limited (from large enterprises to start-up businesses) due to the fact that the specifc nature of the gender systems of each society…generates systematic disadvantages for the female population in comparison to the male population as far as resources, opportunities, decision making, respect of human rights…” (Grynspan, 2008).

The purpose of CSEMs is to infuence national development politics so that instruments may be considered that would favor women’s access to fnancial and non-fnancial resources. They were born as a mechanism for the empowering of women and the economic management in the territories.
CSEMs are introduced as part of the Local Economic Development Agencies (LEDAs), as specifc tools for increasing the impact and quality of the attention paid to the demands of the female population.
CSEMs which operate in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua act as mediators for anyone who decides to foster economic development actions in the territories, and allow for national and regional programs to be brought into local levels that support micro, small and medium businesses and focus on women.

A CSEM represents a territorial structure:
• Designed to support entrepreneurial women within the frame of a LEDA, which involves the main public and private actors committed to economic development.
• With the technical capacity to provide information according to the needs of entrepreneurial women and fnancial and business-related services ad-hoc women, and to direct credit funds for the business initiatives.
• With the technical capacity to integrate women’s economic projects in the territories’ productive chains, also facilitating technical and commercial relations between the South and the South and between the South and the North.
• With the capacity to develop abilities and strengthening existing organizations (associations, cooperatives and businesses) and
allocating entrepreneurial women’s initiatives in the development plans and public politics of their countries.

CSEM coordinates the focus on local economic development and value chains, with that referral of equality in the opportunities and rights for women. The essential premise is that the entrepreneurship of women, especially those located at the base of the pyramid, requires assistance (both fnancial and non-fnancial) according to their needs and the experiences in the territories are important to achieve the scaling up in terms of public politics that will consider women as an important actor of the economy.

The importance
of the role of the CSEMs in Central America is shown by its growth from fve to thirteen centers in four years. Currently, the following CSEMs are operating in different countries:
• 3 in El Salvador – in the departments of Sonsonate (LEDA Sonsonate), Morazán (LEDA Morazán) and La Unión;
• 7 in Guatemala – in the departments of Chiquimula (LEDA ASEDECHI), Sololá (Soliciting group and the communities of Mankatitlán, Manctzolojya and La Laguna), San Marcos (Soliciting group and communities), Huehuetenango (LEDA ASDECOHUE), El Quiché (LEDA Ixcán), Totonicapán (CDRO), Alta Verapaz (ADP);
• 2 in Honduras – in the departments of Ocotepeque and Valle (ADED Valle);
• 1 in Nicaragua – in the department of León (ADES León and CSEM offce of the National Autonomic University of Nicaragua, UNAN-León).

The achievements
of the CSEM can be shown by the strengthening of the entrepreneurial groups; the acknowledgement of economic support, the knowledge and the territorial and cultural identity of the entrepreneurial women in their country; the support provided to business development, marketing,administration, access to credit and creation of territorial brands for their products. Nevertheless, the most strategic achievement has been the allocation of entrepreneurial women initiatives in the development plans and in the public politics of their countries.