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Global Entrepreneurship Week - helping small retailers grow

Micro and small businesses are vital to prosperity, economic growth and employment. These enterprises are the motors of job creation – increasingly important as economies around the world continue to struggle with the legacy of the global financial crisis.

Maria Sonia Vasquez and her husband were both jobless, but she did not want a future where they were unable provide for their children. So she opened up a very small grocery store. She gradually moved on to preparing and selling food in the food and, with the help of the 4e programme, they now run a successful and thriving diner.

Having come a long way from worrying about simply providing for her children, she now has high hopes for their future “I want my kids to graduate, have careers and be independent” she says. You can see more about Maria's story and some of the other inspiring business people from El Salvador here.

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Micro-entrepreneurs are found in both developed and developing countries. But what is different is that in Africa, Latin America and Asia, they make up a much greater proportion of the economy. In El Salvador, for example, 99% of all businesses are micro and small enterprises and they generate approximately 700 thousand jobs, equivalent to 68% of all jobs in the country.

SABMiller and companies like us, realise that helping small businesses to grow is in our best interests. We depend on them throughout our value chains, but our success is also linked to the economic growth that they can stimulate.

We are investing US$17m in a programme with the Inter-American Investment Bank, for small retailers, or 'tenderos', across Latin America. The '4e Camino al Progresso' programme focuses on the development of the capabilities of the tenderos to improve their business, the quality of their and their families' lives, and to enhance their leadership skills, enabling them to take on responsibilities in their communities.

Industrias la Constancia (ILC) – SABMiller's subsidiary in El Salvador – was one of the first to pioneer the 4e programme. ILC's value chain encompasses nearly 26,000 people who own small shops and diners.

Global Entrepreneurship Week

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