Entrepreneurs: Women who support women

December 14 2017
Executive Education INCAE

Motherhood changes the lives of women. That happened with the Salvadoran Lourdes Mena, a graduate in artisan design who, after giving birth, began to think about making a living with her own source of income.

At the end of 2011, Lula Mena opened the doors, a store with peculiar designs of necklaces, bracelets, handbags and other accessories. The most recent collection is based on copper wires, which they obtain from the batteries of the residential energy meters that a distribution company gave them as part of an agreement.

She assures that she thought her business not only so that it would be profitable, but so that the women who worked with her would have a positive change in their lives. 

"I am convinced that by working with a woman or by touching a woman's life, you are immediately touching the lives of her children, of their communities," says Mena.

A report prepared by the Central American Institute of Business Administration, INCAE, highlights, among other things, that 95% of female entrepreneurs have a majority of women in senior management positions. That figure drops to 50% when the employer is a man.

According to the INCAE report, Most women entrepreneurs support others to empower them and help them to develop. At Lula Mena, 90% of the employees are women, artisans who give life, with their hands, to the designs made by Mena. They are originally from seven low-income communities and through this job opportunity they have improved their living conditions.

“The woman does work for her children, you see another approach. As women we have another vision of why we work, when we do something we do it with passion ”, says Mena.

Gender inequality

The World Economic Forum warned in 2016 that it will take at least 170 years to achieve equality between men and women in the world, but recognizes that the fastest way to bridge the gap is to support female entrepreneurship.

The Salvadoran government claims to be doing its part and carries out support programs for the creation of new businesses. This has allowed, according to the country's Deputy Minister of Economy, Luz Estrella Rodríguez, to verify that "women contribute more, produce more, make more use of their finances and make more use of their business surpluses to reinvest and produce more and for the well-being of their families ".

The financing initiative for women entrepreneurs launched in July by the World Bank (WB) will contribute some one billion dollars for technical assistance, support to entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises led by women in member countries of the bank.

Rodríguez assures that the Salvadoran government helps and guides entrepreneurs so that they can broaden their horizons. The Export and Investment Promotion Agency of El Salvador, PROESA, trains small and medium-sized entrepreneurs so that they can export their products.
"Central America is an excellent platform for small and medium-sized women entrepreneurs, but they are also beginning to go out into the world," says the official.

In addition, he maintains that a business certification program called "Seal of Labor Equality" has been launched, the first recognitions of which will be awarded in 2018. The idea, he explains, is to reduce the gender gap, and seek that companies promote inclusion and equality in jobs.

Article published by CNN Spanish. Photograph: CNN


Emerging Leaders Program for Women - ELPW

The ELPW will provide its participants the opportunity to identify the value proposition of their personal brand; it will give them tools for obtaining and managing power and generating influence; it will provide them with information about the competencies that the environment demands today and, finally, it will allow them to start the design of a successful professional career. Next edition: From June 4 to 6, 2018. Costa Rica.
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Women's Executive Leadership Program -WELP

Program focused on developing the competencies of women at a personal, organizational and environmental level, as well as the capacities that men and women need to create collaborative environments that lead to the transformation and sustainable and profitable growth of their businesses. Dates: From November 26 to 30, 2018. Miami. 

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