Meet Juan Pirir

Guatemala City, Guatemala
Client of Accion partner Génesis Empresarial

When Juan Pirir was a boy, he had to work in the fields to help support his family instead of going to school. With little opportunity in his small village in rural Guatemala, he continued working the same fields into adulthood.

But to support his six children, Juan needed to supplement his meager income. So he began to dabble in woodworking. Soon, he was spending his mornings on the farm and his afternoons and nights building couches and chairs. He started selling them on the side, but the process was slow and the returns low.

“I only had a couple of tools – and they were all manual,” he recalls. “I would work for three days to build just one couch.”

Then Juan heard about Accion’s partner in Guatemala, Génesis. With his first small loan, he invested in an electric saw. Sixteen loans later, he has a full workshop of tools, including a modern table saw. Employing several neighborhood boys part-time, he can now turn out one couch a day. Several nights a week, Juan travels two hours each way to sell his furniture in Guatemala City.

The profits from his business enabled Juan to add a room and a tin roof to his concrete house. But most importantly, he is able to provide an education for his children.

“When I was young, I had to work. Now all of my children are in school,” he smiles. “It makes me happy to give them an opportunity I never had.”

Meet more entrepreneurs from Latin America & the Caribbean >

Bookmark and Share

Juan Pirir

Guatemala City, Guatemala
Client of Accion partner, Genesis Empresarial