Meet the Woman Entrepreneur Investing in Social Impact
Idalia Medina grew up with the heart of an entrepreneur. As an adult, she merged her love for farming with business and started processing and exporting cheese. But, with no formal business training, Idalia was overwhelmed. Using the skills she gained from TechnoServe’s training, she transformed her enterprise and grew sales by nearly 20%, also allowing her to invest in the long-term success of her employees.
For women in entrepreneurship, leadership skills are crucial as the pandemic continues to strain small businesses around the world. And it’s even harder when small businesses are trying to invest in social impact.
Read about Idalia Medina and how she’s navigated success in a male-dominated field. Then take our quiz about gender issues in the workplace to learn more about the challenges women face.
Idalia Medina is a natural leader. She started Delicias del Campo, based in Managua, Nicaragua, in 2012. Her business processes and exports cheese to the United States and El Salvador.
Building Upon the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Idalia grew up on a small farm in rural Nicaragua, where milk was abundant but roads were in poor condition or nonexistent so there was no efficient way to transport the milk to factories for processing, and much of it went to waste. When she became an adult and moved closer to the city, she knew she wanted to figure out a way to use her entrepreneurial spirit to develop a business. Noticing that there was a high demand for cheese in El Salvador, she decided to take a chance by starting her own business.
Her cheese processing business started out small. At first, there were no formal processes in place, including accounting. There were only a few employees, and most of them were not well-trained. “I knew what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t organized and there was no long-term vision,” Idalia recalls.
Game-Changing Education Through TechnoServe
That all changed when she joined the TechnoServe business accelerator that gives entrepreneurs the tools, information, and connections they need to run successful businesses. Through the program, Idalia learned important techniques for business planning, accounting, and budgeting.
Within the first four months of being in the program, she implemented eight new business practices. “I’ve learned a lot through the program, but planning and organization have been the most useful,” Idalia says. “It made my plans more assured because I could see what should happen in a successful business.”
Recently, the demand for cheese has grown exponentially. In response, Idalia hired many new employees, and the business has grown from 50 employees to nearly 80 employees in a very short period of time. “Every day I think of new positions I need to create within the business because there are gaps we need to fill,” Idalia explains.
I’ve learned a lot through the program, but planning and organization have been the most useful […] I could see what should happen in a successful business.”
– Idalia Medina
A Business With Social Impact
Since participating in the Impulsa tu Empresa program, Idalia’s sales have increased by 17%. With this increase in revenue, she has not only been able to hire many new people, but also invest in the personal growth of her current employees. “Implementing the changes has been a slow process because our personnel didn’t have the education they needed,” Idalia explains. “But they are the people who grew with us, so we are investing in their education and not leaving them behind.” Idalia is currently giving out scholarships to many of the employees so they can study and learn important skills, such as computer literacy.
As a woman in a male-dominated field, running the business has not always been easy for Idalia. “My husband used to be the voice of the business because companies didn’t want to meet with me as a woman,” Idalia recalls. “Now, they’ve gotten used to a woman calling the shots.” She hopes that her success can be motivation for other women who also want to get involved in a more male-dominated field, but aren’t sure how to get started.
My husband used to be the voice of the business because companies didn’t want to meet with me as a woman. Now, they’ve gotten used to a woman calling the shots.”
– Idalia Medina
Running a successful business and making real social impact is the ultimate goal, one that Idalia has achieved with hard work, determination, and training through TechnoServe.
Help other women like Idalia gain access to tools, information, and business training that can help their world blossom. A gift of $100 can give hard-working women and men the training and support they need to grow their business opportunities.