Female entrepreneurship: the steps of Coco Canela | INCAE
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Female entrepreneurship: the steps of Coco Canela

December 19 2017
Merlin Delcid

(CNN Spanish) - An exclusive study by the Central American Institute of Business Administration, INCAE, on female entrepreneurship in the region shows gender inequalities in business and the difficulties women face in obtaining credit and opening new businesses.

Despite the difficulties, the Patiño sisters, two young Salvadorans, have managed to make their way in the sale of handmade women's shoes.

The opportunity to start a business can appear at any time and circumstance. Julie Patiño, a Graphic Design graduate from Don Bosco University in El Salvador, preferred to wear shoes designed by herself, made with colors and materials of her choice.

A friend held her a pair of sandals and said she wanted the same ones. The rest is history. "When I sold them to him, I saw the potential that a business could do," he says.

In 2012, together with his sister Kryssia, he opened a small shop in the garage from an aunt's house.

Their father, another entrepreneur, helped them transform the idea into their source of income and gave them the money to buy raw materials to create the first line of products.

"We started with few shoes, we had them on cardboard shelves and through social networks we began to make our way", says Kryssia Patiño.

A year later, the sisters opened a store with all of the law, where they sell their own models or if the clients prefer, they choose materials and colors to design their own shoes. However, venturing into the sale of handmade women's footwear was not easy.

"Many people told us that they did not believe in the artisan hand of El Salvador and it was like a barrier to breaking that paradigm that everything Salvadoran was of poor quality and it was there that we checked it with our own products, "he says.

Inequality in business

A report by the Central American Institute of Business Administration, INCAE, on female entrepreneurship in Latin America indicates that the family's business experiences influence women, as in the case of the Patiño sisters, to seek their own source of income.

The study prepared, based on interviews with 342 entrepreneurs from 15 Latin American countries, indicates that discrimination reduces the participation of women in new businesses and conditions the possibilities of economic and professional development.

In 2016, during the World Economic Forum meeting, governments and organizations responsible for economic growth in the region were recommended not only to promote the creation of new companies, but also the development of small and medium-sized businesses. Entrepreneurs in El Salvador have the support of unions such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry that trains young people and women who want to open their own business.

"We help them to land the idea and transform it into a business, to prove that it is viable and then to create a business plan so that entrepreneurs go out to implement their company" says Javier Steiner, president of the union.

The Patiño sisters have already taken that step and have a store in Guatemala and Costa Rica. For 2018 they work on a new step: A line of shoes for men and children in order to diversify the offer and the clientele.

This article was taken from the CNN en Español website. You can watch the video and read the report on the original source.

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