Patricia Palle, seamstress and client of Accion partner BancoSol
Far down a long, precipitous stairway, past many doorways and stray dogs, is the workshop of Patricia Palle—clinging to the side of the mountain with an unobstructed view of La Paz, Bolivia. Skeins of yarn in an array of rich colors occupy the back and side walls, from floor to ceiling. Extra knitting machines are collapsed under the design table for use during her high season and a small desk with neat stacks of patterns and orders is positioned against another wall.
Four mounted knitting machines are operated by Patricia and three of the women she employs, who are making the velvety alpaca sweaters she sells to Bolivians and tourists alike. Patricia, like her sweaters, is warm and inviting. With optimism and openness, she describes the journey she has taken to overcome disadvantages and realize her dream of self-sufficiency and entrepreneurial success.
“This business was just a dream five years ago,” Patricia remembers. Then, she was a new mother with only one knitting machine and limited supplies. She was confident in her skills to produce beautiful, marketable products – but lacked the resources to invest in her business’s growth.
Accion partner BancoSol, a microfinance bank with a long and successful history in Bolivia, proved to be the missing ingredient. BancoSol has since provided Patricia with the financial services she’s needed to expand her business. With her first loan, which was equivalent to only US $200, Patricia stocked up on yarn and other sewing materials. Her next loan, for US $500, enabled her to buy another knitting machine and with it increase her production volume. Patricia was on her way.