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Grit, perseverance make difference in building a business

A CCFC entrepreneurship program is providing skills for success in Nicaragua

By María Isabel López, CCFC country director, Nicaragua

I've always wondered why entrepreneurs succeed. What makes the difference? I began my field trip to Estelí, Nicaragua with those thoughts on my mind. We were visiting a youth entrepreneurship project launched with INSFOP, a local partner, and I was eager to meet project participants and ask my question.

The first young man to chat was Humberto. The 25-year-old began as a serigraph (or printer), before jumping onto another idea — he wanted to launch a very basic family restaurant.

When I met Humberto he was excited to share his ideas with me; it was the perfect moment to ask him, why doesn’t everyone achieve their goals and move forward? What makes the difference? What’s your advice?

My questions excited Humberto; he answered quickly and precisely: “Invest in what you know, analyze the cost of your idea and think about how much you can handle the problems,” he said.

He believes there’s always opportunity in the midst of adversity, although he admits it’s not easy to be an entrepreneur — it takes perseverance and people who believe in you. “[Through] the project, I found people who thought like me and supported me,” he told me, noting that without this help it would have been very difficult. The program gave Humberto the soft and hard skills he needed to succeed. He learned to manage his resources.

He was among 62 young people who benefited from the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada initiative, which provided motivation and personal development, technical vocational skills, entrepreneurship training as well as follow-up counselling. Following the project 47 young people improved their income, helping them meet basic needs for education, clothing and food.

As for Humberto, he dreams of taking the next step with his family business and designing his company’s brand himself.

As we wave goodbye, he makes one thing clear: “It was worth all the effort,” he says.

At Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, we believe in the potential of young people to end poverty at home. So does Humberto. He made a point of telling me he’ll raise his daughter in better circumstances than he experienced in his childhood.

You can help spur change like this. Support a youth business start-up through a special gift today.

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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For nearly 60 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.