What's "La llama escondida"?
In 2007, 14 women from San Pedro Perulapán, district of Cuscatlan, El Salvador, began the adventure of becoming entrepreneurs by producing handcrafted wines. They decided to bet on a new product with greater potential for returns.
This successful change was well received by people who tried their wines made from the jamaica flower (similar to hibiscus), orange and rice. As demand increased, they saw the need to work together to improve the production process. It was because of this challenge that they went to seek assistance at a Centro de Desarrollo de Micro y Pequeñas Empresas (CDMYPE).
"Before going to the center, our business was not well organized. The wine recipes needed to be improved, and our products did not have an image to publicize. All of these issues have been solved thanks to the CDMYPE", said Lilian Arevalo, one of the 14 entrepreneurs.
Arevalo said that because of the support provided by the CDMYPE and the entrepreneurship seminars they attended, they decided to look for bigger market opportunities. As a result, they created a cooperative named Asociación Cooperativa de Producción Agropecuaria y Servicios Múltiples Mujeres Dinámicas Rompiendo Esquemas (AMDRE).
"We are very grateful. Some women in the co-op couldn't read or write, but we have overcome these obstacles. Through the CDMYPE, we learned about sales, financial and administrative management. We also improved our wine recipes, and came up with ideas to create new products", emphasized Arevalo.
With the help of CDMYPE, which operates Comisión Nacional de la Micro y Pequeña Empresa (CONAMYPE) with the support of The Catholic University of El Salvador (Universidad Católica de El Salvador, regional of Ilobasco), AMDRE also registered their wine trademark under the name "La llama escondida" meaning "the hidden flame". This center aided them in the development of a project that allowed them to earn seed capital in order to strengthen their business.
Going forward, AMDRE plans on owning a production plant, improving their production process, meeting all sanitary requirements, and selling their wines in supermarkets around the country. To date, they are selling their wines in the communities of San Pedro Perulapán, San Martin and the cultural center of the municipality where they reside.
"Our achievements make us feel important because as women we have been able to bring income to our homes, feed our children and contribute to their education. We feel satisfied and convinced that with effort and dedication any woman can reach her goal", said Arevalo.
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