DreamBuilder Alumni in Competition

Heather Gayle, DreamBuilder Fellow, shares news about the business plan competition hosted by Freeport-McMoRan’s mine in Chile, Minera Candelaria. Open to the women entrepreneurs that completed the DreamBuilder online training program, the competition asked the women to present their business plans along with a request to fund a specific project or equipment to improve their business. The winning business plan would receive the funding to implement the plan.

Written by: Heather Gayle, ‘10

Biz planWith baited breath, I listened to elevator pitches, I smelled baked homemade bread and fresh flowers, and I watched 11 of my 21 Beta Test women present their business plans in front of a panel of judges; and I felt like a proud mama bird, watching her chicks fly for the first time. Our judges’ panel consisted of Camila Tapia Morales, who represented the Director of Sernam (National Women’s Service); Juan Pablo Hinojosa, a Manager at Minera Candelaria; and Daniza Gutierrez, a local Businesswoman.

Minera Candelaria's Business Plan Competition took place on Wednesday, June 5, 2013; and it posed quite the challenge for several of our DreamBuilder participants who had never had to present their businesses to anyone before. The thought of speaking about their businesses, as well as strategically planning for its future (as they were taught in DreamBuilder) was daunting; but they did an incredibly fabulous job.Biz plan

Along with showing detailed future financial plans and fragrant flowers, and offering samples of fresh Chilean bread and rich chocolate treats made with ingredients native to the Atacama region; the DreamBuilder participants were able to speak knowledgeably about what they would do with the money, should they be chosen as a winner in the competition. The majority of the women knew exactly how they would invest the money back into their businesses. The judges were given quotes of baking, sewing, and cooking equipment, generators, storage construction and greenhouse materials and food products.

Originally, there were to be only 7 winners. However, thanks to the generosity of Candelaria and a little creativity; we have 10 winners! When I made the calls to notify all of the women about the good news, I call it my Oprah moment. The cries of happiness, the tears of joy, and the repeated thanks were an amazing way to close out my time here in Copiapó.