Moisés Aaraón Martínez Marenco, 21, is a hardworking husband and father to a baby girl. From our partner community of Comején 4, Moisés divides his time between work and studies; he is currently in his third year of university at the UNAN Managua studying Industrial Engineering with support of a BTC scholarship. He has his own small business making shoes to support his family.
Moisés began making shoes in 2015 as an assistant. After learning the process, he scrimped and saved to buy a sewing machine and a set of shoemaking forms, called lasts, to start working on his own. Through much hard work and perseverance, Moisés grew his business to employ four fellow community members and expand his production. With his new employees, Moisés was also able to expand the variety of footwear he produces to include an increased size range, closed-toed shoes, and women’s sandals.
Last year, Moisés identified a lack of capital as one of the greatest limitations to his production and solicited a loan of $US480 from the revolving community fund that Bridges helps administer. With the loan, Moisés purchased more lasts and a greater quantity of raw materials and supplies. He also attended a BTC workshop focused on small business development and has been implementing some of the accounting and operational skills he learned. Moisés has had success in reducing the loss of raw material and optimizing production time. Additionally, with the new investment, Moisés increased his production to 132 shoes weekly and now earns approximately $US63 per week. He sells his shoes at the Masaya market and at two of the larger markets in the capital.
Moisés looks forward to finishing his degree and continuing to grow his business to provide a better life for his family in the future. He says, “I am so grateful to the Bridges economic development program and the community leaders that allow us to expand our businesses. Likewise, without the scholarship program, I and many other young people would not have the resources to become the professionals of tomorrow. Thank you so much.”