By Zach Weishar
Measuring economic growth over time is one of the most valuable insights we have into our clients’ lives. It’s also one of the key ways we define our clients’ successes. The idea is to start small and grow steadily with the help of financial advice and small loans along the way. Isidro Medina, Peruvian craft maker and client of Accion partner Credinka, has followed this trajectory remarkably well.
His store and home sit atop the steep hill that marks the descent into the city of Puno, Peru. From his front porch, the city is laid out neatly below – everything seemingly within reach. Isidro sees his business in the same way: no goal seems too outlandish or difficult to achieve. He tackles each new challenge with the confidence that only comes to those who work toward a goal with single-minded determination.
He started in the craft business when he was nine years old, working for a family who taught him the basics of knitting, weaving, and embroidering. He stayed with them for 14 years while taking weaving classes in Cusco in his spare time. Eventually, he felt ready to strike out on his own and relocated from Cusco to Puno, where he saw more opportunity to start his business.
Fast-forward 36 years and Isidro sits proudly atop a small empire. He owns a store in Cusco and two in Puno, and is represented at all the major craft fairs around the country. He’s even won several national awards for the quality of his work. In addition to making his own crafts, he buys from other artisans around the country and also owns a large collection of antique Incan artifacts. Isidro works every single day, and when large orders come in, he gets up at 4 in the morning and works as late as 11 p.m. He runs his business with the help of his wife and several of their children, as well as two full-time employees from the local community. This is one of the compelling and enduring things about microfinance: one client’s success tends to touch many lives within the community. Whether it’s providing much-needed opportunities for employment or creating a convenient wholesale network that allows local artisans to get their precious goods to market easily, Isidro’s effect on the local economy extends far beyond his own household.
At 59, Isidro has ambitious plans for the future. He wants to build a hotel next door to his home, open a new store dedicated to selling his collection of antique artifacts, and create a demonstration area where he can show tourists how his crafts are made. Although he’s already a successful businessman, he’ll need access to capital to get these projects underway.
That’s where our partner Credinka comes into play. They’ll provide him with business advice and access to affordable capital for as long as he needs it. It’s this type of individualized support that empowers businesses like Isidro’s around the world to build financially stable futures.