According to the sixth version of the Microentrepreneurship Survey of the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism, 38.6% of microentrepreneurs in Chile are women. María Cristina Miranda, 48, is one of them and one of the 20 winners of the first version of the Despega Mujer Program of the Luksic Foundation.
Aware of the effect that the pandemic has had on entrepreneurs, especially women, in early 2021 the Luksic Foundation launched this new program to support 20 women entrepreneurs from different areas of Chile with funding of $2 million pesos to invest in their businesses and six months of academic support with a gender focus.
The first edition of Despega Mujer had the collaboration of Fondo Esperanza, an expert in entrepreneurship, which selected the winners from among women who had participated in its programs. The entrepreneurs selected were from the municipalities of Antofagasta, Puerto Montt, Renca, Independencia and Quinta Normal.
“Winning this award has changed my life. I realized that I am capable of much more. I started almost eight years ago selling ice cream at the free and Christmas fairs. With a lot of effort I raised the money and formalized my business. At present I am the owner of the minimarket “La Cristy”, the entrepreneur from Renca says cheerfully.
The 48-year-old woman left street vending to build her own neighborhood store in her home. At first she only offered candy, ice cream and eggs to her neighbors. Over time, she began to include more and more products. “Little by little I expanded and improved the business until I had what I have today. Right now I have half of my house in the backyard, but my minimarket is impeccable and full of items to sell to the neighbors,” says the entrepreneur from Renca, who adds that thanks to the training, she has managed to grow even more and in a short time.
María Cristina explains that the program classes, taught online by Corporación Simón de Cirene, have been fundamental for her professional and personal development.
“I have trained a lot. I did the first module very quickly and immediately started to apply what I learned, for example, I developed my investment plan, reorganized my business, put together signs with promotions, included new beauty products and school supplies, and I have done very well with sales. I would never have thought about it before,” explains María Cristina, adding that “it has even boosted my self-esteem. Now I wake up happy. It’s incredible all the support I’ve received, they are always looking out for me.
The first version of the Despega Mujer program ends in November of this year, and the entrepreneur from Renca knows that every opportunity and class is key to her development. “I am very happy, I have learned a lot and above all I am very grateful for the support, they are always concerned about us, giving us advice and helping us to move forward on this path,” says the owner of the minimarket “La Cristy”.