SMEs help create strong communities and reduce vulnerabilities
The objective of the SME program is to contribute to the economic development of families and produce an improved standard of living. The development philosophy of ViviendasLeón is asset based: to work with families and communities to identify personal, communal and natural assets that can be used as resources for development. These resources include levels of education, self-esteem and technical or creative skills; land, water and sunlight; domestic animals, trees and plants.
The program coordinates these resources through training and supports the launch of small business projects such as beekeeping and honey production, sewing cooperatives or fruit and vegetable wholesale businesses. Through this program, families have increased their income, created future prospects and improved their domestic relationships while reducing their vulnerabilities, resulting in an overall improvement in attitude, leadership, entrepreneurship and economic health among members of the communities.
An example is COABE, a honey cooperative started with an investment by ViviendasLeon in a group of women who we had recently trained in our HCT program. They attended a week of business workshops developed by students from the USF School of Management in 2012, and went on to create a thriving honey and bee products business.