Empower women. Eliminate poverty.


Our Entrepreneur Clients: Otilia

Otilia - Entrepreneur client. Otilia produces jams and jellies using her own award-winning recipe. She has been invited to present her products at fairs in Guatemala City and Los Angeles, California. The middle stage of development on our Client Continuum. Entrepreneurs are often women who are beginning to experience higher levels of social and economic empowerment and are creating a vision for what they want. They tend to invest their earnings into home improvements and are beginning to save so they can better weather economic and health related shocks. As entrepreneurs, they are growing their businesses, engaging the community, and may even have the ability to hire others.

Otilia is a woman driven to overcome any obstacle. Born into a large family, Otilia was abused and neglected by her father, who didn’t allow her to attend school. Otilia was determined to build a better future for herself, so she moved to a more urban area in search of a job and a chance for an education.

Otilia married and had five children, but her husband was financially irresponsible and struggled with alcoholism in the early years of their marriage. In order to provide for her children, Otilia started a business selling snack items. Unfortunately the profits were small. Through the support of her Friendship Bridge Trust Bank, Otilia attended Advanced Education and Technical Training and learned about canning vegetables and making jams. Inspired by what she learned, Otilia developed her own jam recipe, which she called “Canned Margarita.” Her first sales were extremely successful, and nearby shops and bakeries quickly began placing orders.

Following her business success, Otilia hired two employees. She has attended several fairs for entrepreneurs in Guatemala City and has been invited to share her story and her products at a fair in Los Angeles, California. Otilia has received numerous honors and diplomas for her business success. To Otilia, though, the success she is most proud of is being able to send her children to school. Her oldest son is currently pursuing an engineering degree, and her other children are in secondary school.

Otilia reflects often on her achievements and is thankful to Friendship Bridge for enabling her to grow as an entrepreneur. “My clients drive me to progress as a businesswoman. It is very satisfying to me when high profile people buy and enjoy my products. My children are also proud of me, and they are advancing their education. I have learned so much – to be organized with my time, to manage my budget, and to send my children to school. This is all thanks to the training I received from Friendship Bridge.”

Otilia belongs to three community groups and is often invited to share her experiences at meetings. She is also serving as an example to her sister, who has recently exited an abusive relationship. Otilia is always looking for new opportunities and knocking on new doors. She is proud of the success she has achieved, but she is looking to grow even more. Otilia is on her way to becoming a Leader.

Head to our YouTube channel to watch Otilia share her story.

To learn about the first level of development on our Client Continuum, read last week’s blog about Cruz, a Dreamer client.  Next week we will be featuring a client at the highest level of development on our Continuum.