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Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs

by Fundacion Hernan Echavarria Olozaga
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Micro-credits for Baru Island entrepreneurs
Ana Paola
Ana Paola

Ana Paola is married. She lives with her husband, her mother and her three children. She started selling children’s clothes in a table in her living room, 10 years ago.

Since then, she was really kind with her costumers, which were mostly her neighbors. Ana was in love with her business and thanks to her savings and her mother’s support, she adapted a room as a local in her house, in order to improve her costumer service.

This turned out to be a good idea because people from all over the town and even thought tourists started going to her shop and buy a lot. Thanks to this, she begun to buy from other suppliers that gave her better prices, which help her have always a good inventory.

Currently, Ana sells women, men and children clothes, shoes, purses and accessories among others. For Ana, her shop is a dream come true.

Ana Paola finds it difficult when she can’t find the exact articles her costumers asked for or when people don’t want to pay on time, but she gives them payment facilities.

On the other side, her joy is when she has a good inventory and varieties, so her clients start buying as they find the latest trends. She says, her shop is a reflection of what she is: “ a responsible, respectful woman, full of love”.

Ana’s goal is to build a second floor on top of her shop, to have more space in order to organize better her products, so that her costumers have a more confortable experience when they buy.

Ana's shop



Efren is 61 years old. He was borne in Baru and to him the Ocean is his everything.

His connection with the Sea started when we was a little boy and he used to swim in the access canals to Baru, were he watched the boats go in and out and he dreamed of being a Captain.

When Efren’s mother asked him to go with her to Cartagena, he couldn’t sleep waiting for the next day to come so that he could go on boat.

Efren never forgot about his dream. When he was 19, he started working in a farm close to his town. When he had saved enough money to buy wood and a motor, he resigned and invested all his savings in building a canoe, with his father’s help.

Since then, Efren has sailed the Caribbean Sea for 40 years, transporting natives and visitors to Cartagena, the Rosario Islands and White Beach. Because of his job, he has been able to race his 9 children.

Along these 40 years, Efren has had different canoes to transport between 10 and 15 passengers. It was only 13 years ago that he could buy his first fiberglass boat which he named “Qué qué” or “What what”. Now he can transport 30 people.

Thanks to the microcredit Efren got with the project, he was able to renew all the life vests of the boat and for the first time buy children life vests.

Efren aims to keep working towards providing a better service to his clients and to keep living with the calm and the freedom that, in his own words, “only the Sea can give you”.  

Efren in his boat
Efren in his boat



Cruz defines herself as an entrepreneur, a trained, strong and courageous woman, who has learned to confront any situation life has bring to her.

She mentioned to have 3 passions: Leadership, Early Childhood Education and Pastry.

Since she was very young, she enjoyed helping people in her community through projects she wrote so she became a local leader. Afterwards, she joined the local Community Council, from where she supports social projects.

Her love for the community work, led her to receive training in how to attend early childhood, so she started working with children, pregnant and nursing women. She is currently working with them and other community leaders in an education project, based on Afro Culture.

At the same time, she was trained in Pastry, Bakery, Hygiene and Food Handling, Food and Beverage Service, Entrepreneurship, Customer Service and Basic Accounting, in order to start her own business: a Bakery.

Her days are full of work: She wakes up, get everything she needs for work, head to the institution were she is an Educational Agent and in the afternoon after she finishes work she bake cakes, cupcakes, and prepare desserts that she sells to the local stores and school cafeterias. She also bakes cakes for birthdays parties, weddings and other events that take place in Baru.

Her goal is to have an independent space for her business, which is currently in her house and to be able to bake more and sell more cakes and other desserts.



Ana Paola lives in Santa Ana were she was borne 25 years ago. She has beautiful brown eyes that reflect her positive attitude towards life.

She says she always wanted to have her own business, to be independent, but didn’t know exactly what to do.

She got married to a good man and had a baby “Jose” who as she says, gives sense to her life.

Ana’s husband started working at the beach so she was in charge of their son’s care. After a while, she realized she could start a business while taking care of Jose, so she began selling products by catalogs and then bought her first showcase in order to have always products to sell to her neighbors.

Ana currently have 2 showcases and continues to sell by catalogs. She has been able to take care of her son, while she works and have an income for her personal expenses and to help her husband with the house.

With the last microcredit she asked for, Ana bought a motorcycle to do deliveries.

Ana’s goal is to build an independent space for her store next to her house and we are confident she will do it.

Ana's showcase


Oneida with her children
Oneida with her children

Oneida is originally from “Palacio” a small town in Sucre, far away from Cartagena. She defines herself as a strong, brave and fighter woman.

She lived in her hometown until she was 16. Then, she decided to move to Cartagena searching for an opportunity. In Cartagena, Oneida started working with a family helping them with the housework.

She met a boy and after 3 years of being together, they decided to move to Baru, where his family lived.

Oneida says that when she first arrived to Baru, she found it really similar to “Palacio” because of its friendly and welcoming people. But in Baru, she noticed an “air of progress” that convinced her to stay.

A few months later, Oneida found out she was pregnant. Her father in law wanted to help them, so he built them a small room and gave them some kilograms of rice, sugar beans, coffee as well as eggs and cooking oil, so that they could sell them and find a way of living.

This is how her store started 17 years ago. Today it has an independent space from the other house’s rooms, sells about 100 products and is called “Los hermanos Castro” or “The Castro brothers” in honor to their 3 children.

Oneida looks back and she realizes it hasn’t been an easy way, but despite all the difficulties she feels that their business is solid and that she has learned how to manage it. She is confident that their store will help them finish the second floor of their house and pay for their children studies in University.

Oneida in her store
Oneida in her store



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Organization Information

Fundacion Hernan Echavarria Olozaga

Location: Bogota, Cundinamarca - Colombia
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Ana Milena Ordosgoitia
Bogota, Cundinamarca Colombia
$1,624 raised of $16,920 goal
61 donations
$15,296 to go
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