Vai al contenuto

• Guatemala
• El Salvador
• Honduras

Service Centers for the Entrepreneurial Endeavors of Women
What problems do CSEMs solve?

CSEMs started in 2006, within the Local Economic Development Agencies (LEDAs) of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, as a response to the specifc demands of entrepreneurial women living in urban and rural areas.

In Central American
countries, Micro, Small and Medium Businesses (MIPYMEs by the acronym in Spanish) represent 97% of the business activity in the sub-region, contributing with 33% of the GDP, creating 11.9 million positions and employing 54% of the economically active population. Furthermore, MIPYMEs represent 80% of intra-regional commerce, which is equivalent to 27% of the total exportations of Central American countries. However, national economic politics underestimate the deciding role of MIPYMEs, prioritizing the promotion of great business complexes and the search for foreign investment. In the same way, the role of entrepreneurial women in the Central American economy is also underestimated. Offcial statistics show the feminization of the base of the business pyramid in the region. Practically 60% of micro businesses (establishments with one to four employees) correspond to initiatives created and started by women. Their relevance is crucial, since close to 50% of the economically active female population that works in non-agricultural activities works in micro businesses.

The economic situation refected in this data from Central American countries is similar to that in other Latin American countries.

In this frame
, the Local Economic Development Agencies represent an answer to the need to provide services to micro, small and medium businesses in a way that they may develop the potential of the territories and dynamize their economies. CSEMs respond to the specifc demand of strengthening the entrepreneurship of women and adopting territorial planning mechanisms that are inclusive of women.

In particular, a CSEM contributes to solving, in a territory, complex problems of entrepreneurial women, such as:
• The diffculty to organize and associate in groups that will allow them to have a greater contractual strength with providers and clients, an improvement of the quality of their products and positioning in the market.
• The diffculty to access credits, getting education and training.
• The concentration of entrepreneurships of women in the informal sector, considered not relevant in the national economy, almost absent in statistics and, therefore, not taken into account in the
creation of public politics.
• The absence of systematic information, records or databases that does not let one realize the existence, value and potential of the entrepreneurships of women. This restriction results in local development plans that are created and carried out without giving any value to the entrepreneurships of women as a signifcant activity and of business women as an economic strength.

To respond to these complex problems, CSEMs carry out the following basic tasks:
• Research of territorial economic potentialities, inventories of the entrepreneurships, geographical
references and analysis of the productive chains focusing on territory and gender, in collaboration with applied research centers.
• Coordination and spreading of information about programs and projects of public and private institutions which provide fnancial and business services.
• Coordination and management of cooperation agreements with local, national and international organizations.
• Support to entrepreneurships with scaling potential, framed within plans and development programs and integrated into productive chains; training services for the development of entrepreneurial abilities and business management.
• Creation and follow-up of business plans and support for they are presented before fnancial and development institutions.
• Technical assistance ad-hoc entrepreneurs and business women; facilitation of process for access to assets and consolidation of businesses; information about the creation of businesses, education and work, laws and regulations, and national programs.
• Positioning of the contributions and needs of women in the politics and local economic development plans; promotion of events to discuss and refect on gender, economy and local development issues; promotion of the role of women in the local economy.

Through these activities, CSEMs achieve the following results in the territories:
• Promotion of cooperation networks between the local actors and the establishments that provide business services.
• Promotion of exchanges between the entrepreneurs on different topics, visibilization of experiences and the impact achieved, turning women into promoters of entrepreneurships and facilitation of their political incidence.
• Facilitation of information to be able to access fnancial and business services, training in risk management and facilitation of a portfolio of possibilities; support of the design of strategies of sustainability and positioning in the market.
• Evaluation of the needs of support that will allow women to combine their personal, family, and business agendas.