Empowering Women via Market Access in Guatemala

by Mercado Global


Mercado Global is an ethical fashion brand and social enterprise that empowers Mayan women in Guatemala to break the cycle of poverty and use their talent to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities. Through its Market Access program, Mercado Global connects artisans to international retailers such as Anthropologie, Garnet Hill, and Levi Strauss, to increase their income; provide design and commercialization support; and offer training to help artisans start their own businesses.
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Since its inception, Mercado Global has partnered with over 450 skilled Mayan women artisans. Poverty is deeply rooted in their communities, with an illiteracy rate of 60%, and 72% of Mayan people, who account for roughly half of Guatemala's population, living in poverty. Women are especially vulnerable, facing significant barriers to employment, health care, and nutrition, struggling to succeed in an isolated region with few local markets and income-earning opportunities.


The Market Access Program enables women entrepreneurs to access the greater value and demand of the international market. We work with artisans to design, produce, and sell high-quality products that appeal to international retailers such as Anthropologie and Levi Strauss. We provide artisans with raw materials, designs, and technical trainings, as well as manage the exportation process and commercialization through trade shows. Partner artisans are earning 3x more than the national average.

Long-Term Impact

Since 2004, Mercado Global has provided 735,000+ hours of work and 2,500+ free trainings to artisans. We will reach 200 women and ultimately impact over 1,200 dependents. The long-term impact strategy of our model is to break the cycle of poverty in rural Guatemala and ensure long-term economic development. Through this market access program, we will provide women with access to the income, services and tools they need to send their children to school and increase their savings.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


Mercado Global website
Mercado Global Annual Reports

Organization Information

Mercado Global

Location: Brooklyn, New York - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.mercadoglobal.org
Mercado Global
Project Leader:
Sara Pressman
Institutional Partnerships Coordinator
Brooklyn, New York United States

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