Raleigh Costa Rica celebrates young female entrepreneurs

13th April 2016

Raleigh Costa Rica recently celebrated the completion of the Young Female Social Entrepreneurs in Protected Area Buffer Zones (FemBuz) scheme. Through FemBuz, following seven months of dedication and hard work, three young female entrepreneurs have been awarded a seed fund that will help them start a new business and take the next step towards making their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

“I’ve always wanted a business, but what I was missing was the opportunity to learn more about how to start one. I am so happy to have the economic contribution that the project could provide me too. It’s thanks to FemBuz that my dreams are becoming reality”

Ivannia, FemBuz award-winner

The FemBuz programme was designed and implemented by Raleigh International in partnership with the British Embassy in Costa Rica. Its aim: to stimulate a spirit of entrepreneurship amongst young women from low-income communities around national parks of Costa Rica, where economic opportunities are limited.

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Initially, seven young women were selected as volunteers on the Raleigh ICS programme in Nicaragua for 12 weeks. They joined a team of international volunteers at Raleigh’s office in Leon, where they learned the basics of entrepreneurship, from business planning and market research to branding and corporate design. Once equipped with this knowledge, they travelled to rural Nicaraguan communities to pass on their learning to local women.

“Learning how other people are living and exchanging knowledge and experiences filled me with hope. When you travel to another country, you feel and live their needs and desires.”

– Noilyn, FemBuz award-winner

Designing and delivering sessions in leadership and business skills to young people in the communities allowed the volunteers to see the potential for entrepreneurship in settings similar to their homes. They became role models to the women in the communities and gained a huge amount of confidence in what they could achieve as a result. On returning to their home communities, the young women implemented their learning and created business plans of their own over a four-month period. They were also each assigned mentors from their local areas who offered guidance, support, hints and tips on how to build a successful and long-lasting enterprise.

In true Raleigh style, the emphasis of the project was on how to make the businesses sustainable. By providing these young leaders with new skills and continued support over four months, Raleigh hopes to create a long-term positive change for the entrepreneurs and their wider communities. All the business plans focused on creating new enterprises that will make substantial contributions to the economic, social and environmental futures of their local communities.

“Here I begin a new vision for my life, a life which will be totally different to I was used to.”

– Frenesy Cordero, FemBuz award-winner

At the culmination of the programme, a special ceremony was held in San Jose with the British Ambassador, where the ambitious entrepreneurs presented their plans. In particular, three young female entrepreneurs stood out for their commitment and innovation, and were awarded a seed fund to cover initial set-up costs and get them on their way to achieving their entrepreneurial dreams.

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  • Noilyn Ramírez is now running an eco-tourism business in Uvita that revives traditional local cultural practices and offer sustainable voluntourism options for visitors.
  • Ivania García has been given support to initiate an entrepreneurial venture based around honey production with native bees in the small community of Mastatal, where she will be contributing to local organic production.
  • Frenesy Cordero will set up and run a nursery in the community of Uvita with a focus on gaining sponsorship for children of low income families, allowing mothers to dedicate themselves to economic opportunities.

For each of these new entrepreneurs, there are many challenges ahead. But through FemBuz, we hope they are now equipped with the confidence, knowledge and financial support to drive their businesses towards success.