Strength in Unity

“I want to show that women are capable of starting and progressing their own businesses.”

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Narcisa Cruz Sosa, a ceramics artisan from Peru, travelled to the Netherlands recently to speak at an event on Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs. The event was organised by CARE in partnership with the Dutch Government, development bank FMO, Women’s World Banking and the Swedish Embassy. Narcisa was selected to join as one of the participants of CARE’s Women in Enterprise programme, funded by H&M Foundation.

 

This was my first trip to Europe and my first time outside Latin America. It has been a very different experience to anything I’ve ever done before. I was very nervous arriving at Schiphol airport, I wanted to find someone who spoke Spanish who could help me, and I kept being sent from one place to another!

The event I came to speak at was excellent and there were some great topics for discussion. I really enjoyed meeting other women entrepreneurs from across the world, as well as some very high-profile individuals.

Strength in Unity

I was at the event in my capacity as President of a women’s consortium, which has 300 members. I am also the President of the ‘Women’s Association of Artisans from Chulucanas’, which is part of the consortium, and has 20 members. We started out with eight members and now we just keep on growing, we don’t want to say no to any woman wanting to join. 

By coming to the Netherlands, I wanted to let people know that women can run their businesses well and can contribute to not just their families, but to the well-being of their communities as well. I want to let people know that every woman has a lot of skills. We are capable of starting our own businesses and progressing.

At the event I was invited to participate in a discussion around making financial products and services more accessible for women entrepreneurs, and how these have been traditionally designed for men. I talked about how supportive the CARE team in Piura have been in helping our Association to grow and connect with new opportunities. As individual people we sometimes can’t achieve the things we want to, but by uniting as a group we are stronger.

 

Narcisa with the event participants at the Swedish Embassy

Narcisa with the other event participants

Shared obstacles; shared inspiration

Through the event I realised that women entrepreneurs all around the world are facing similar barriers, for example the challenge of getting a business loan.

There was one woman who spoke about giving back to the community and doing her part so that other women could progress. I really identified with this, having set up the association in Peru. I feel like I am contributing to the progress of other women.  

Through this event I was able to realise that I have the talent to be able to represent a large group of people. I was inspired by all of the talks – because if they were able to do this, I can too.

Inspiration back home

Before I left for this trip, our consortium had been talking about setting up as a company or a cooperative. This trip has given me the energy to go back to Piura and make it happen, I really want us to achieve it!  If we do this, it is going to be a huge success for us.

When I was in the Hague I visited a shop that specialises in selling handcrafted products from Peru. I hope that we will be able to arrange for the export of some of our products from the consortium to this shop.

Narcisa in the Hague

As for my family, when I go home I will tell my four children and my two granddaughters all about this wonderful trip. I hope that I will be an example to them for working hard.  They realise that with the work that I do they have been raised and educated.  They admire me because this trip has really been a blessing and a testament to all the work I have done.

To find out more about the event that Narcisa spoke at, click here.

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