Betty and Luis Suxo Sirpa
El Alto, Bolivia
Clients of Accion Partner BancoSol
Betty and her husband Luis have been in their furniture-making business together since they married in 2004. Each day, they sell their goods at the market between 6:00 and 11:00 a.m., then return to their workshop to build more. Combining hard work with a few small loans from longtime ACCION partner BancoSol, they have expanded the business and bought a home and workshop of their own.
Betty runs the furniture making from soup to nuts, including finances, operations, sales and product development. “It’s a bit of responsibility,” she acknowledges, “but it’s fun and every day is different.” Her husband and their four employees complete between 15 and 20 mid-sized sofas each week, and they have set their sights on doubling output.
Like so many microentrepreneurs, Betty and Luis share the joys and anxieties of business ownership with their closest of kin. Luis’s parents regularly make the multi-day trip from the northern town of Ixiamas to deliver freshly cut cedar, oak and mahogany, while his brother preps the wood at his lumber mill around the corner. Besides lumber and furniture, the entire family also shares Accion partner BancoSol: They all have loans with the seasoned microlender and rely on its services to help them expand their businesses.
If the methods of Betty and Luis’s success are multifaceted, their primary motivation couldn’t be simpler. When a compact, rose-cheeked toddler comes scooting into the workshop pushing a toy truck, Betty scoops him into her arms. Her face softens as she says simply, “We are working for our son.”
To learn more about Accion's work in Latin America, visit www.accion.org/latinamerica.