Same goals, different road

Last year was a rather slow year for Stichting Credit4Cuba, due to a number of ….. let’s say ….. challenges. We even had to have the talk: are we giving up or do we keep on going?

Today, we are delighted to write that we kept on going indeed! And the results are amazing!

At the beginning of 2019 we decided to explore the possibilities to work with two new local counterparts, the Centro Cristiano de Reflexión y Diálogo (CCRD) – thanks Omar Everleny Perez Villanueva for the introduction! – and Proyecto CubaEmprende – thanks Jorge Mandilego!

That same year we also decided to try another approach and organize events for entrepreneurs in specific sectors or branches, instead of organize events for entrepreneurs in general. This turned out to be a great decision, leading to more participants – hence more impact – and stronger relationships with our new local counterparts.

November 2019 we had the kick-off and organized the first branch orientated event. Together with the CCRD, Alejandra Ferrari (C4C trainer), Nayvis Diaz Labaut (Founder/CEO Vélo Cuba) and Adriana Ricardo Díaz (Project Manager at ArteCorte) we organized a very successful event for the bicitaxis (pedicabs) of Cardenas. As Cardenas is the Cuban capital of bikes and the Netherlands are famous for their bikes, we thought it would be a perfect theme for the kick-off of our series of branch orientated events.

We have to admit that we picked a challenging group for our first event, leaving the CCRD team even kind of nervous the days before the event. The group of hardworking entrepreneurs was hesitant indeed to leave their bicitaxis unattended for a couple of hours to attend the event. The first day of the event Alejandra, Nayvis and Adriana provided several practical workshops to a group of 30 participants. Their enthusiasm, professionalism and hands-on expertise convinced the participants to stay, participate, come back the second day and even bring additional participants. We are proud to say that the kick-off was very successful!

The next branch orientated event focused on entrepreneurs in the beauty sector. Again, we organized the event together with the CCRD. We invited several experts to provide a two-days program with inspirational and practical workshops: Amaya Garmendia (C4C trainer), Victoria Rubio Sanchez (hairdresser) and Faysuri Restrepo Calderon (owner Faysuri’s Nail Spa Academy).

The event was attended by micro and small business owners, and people with the aspiration to start their small business in the beauty sector. 70 – mostly female – participants worked for 2 days with Amaya on their business plans, listened to Faysuri’s and Victoria’s inspirational stories on being a small business owner, and received practical training and advice during the hands-on workshops provided by Faysuri and Victoria. We worked hard, sang, laughed, ate and even cried together. Great event, great facilitators, great participants, great impact!

Faysuri, a client from Qredits Microfinanciering Curacao, was accompanied by Raiska Herrera (Branch Manager at Qredits Curacao). Raiska joined us to understand more about our work in Cuba and was more than willing to provide a workshop or presentation at the same time. And so she did! CubaEmprende Havana had asked us on a previous occasion to provide a presentation on how to apply for a (micro)credit and Raiska was the perfect fit to provide such a presentation. Her presentation was very well received by CubaEmprende Havana and they are looking forward to organizing more events with us.

Apart from Raiska’s presentation in Havana, Amaya was able to provide two workshops – explaining the Business Model Canvas – in Cienfuegos, in cooperation with CubaEmprende Cienfuegos. We were very well received by Yoel Suárez González (CEO CubaEmprende Cienfuegos) and his team, and are looking forward to providing more events in Cienfuegos. The first step is made!

And there is more to come, so stay tuned. There are more events to come this year, more cities to explore, more local entrepreneurs to inspire, more impact to create.