10,000 Micro-Business Loan Recipients to Benefit from Collaboration of Interweave Solutions and Mentors International

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Dr. Lynn Curtis, co-founder of Interweave Solutions, collaborates with Mentors International to help 10,000 micro-business loan recipients succeed in the informal economies of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Ghana and Philippines.

Margarita Xicay, beneficiary of Interweave Solutions and Mentors International collaboration

Without more formal business training, many people such as Margarita struggle from loan to loan, but have difficulty building their business in a sustainable fashion.

Dr. Lynn Curtis just completed a successful trip to Guatemala where he worked alongside members of Mentors International to assist residents to learn the critical components of succeeding in business.

Margarita Xicay, serves as a great example of one of the recipients who is already benefiting from the training. Margarita was abandoned last year by her alcoholic husband, and has since struggled to feed her five children. Outside her humble two-room home, Margarita earns a meager living through her small business weaving fibrous leaves into sleeping mats known as petates. She keeps her seasonal business moving with periodic micro-loans, but she is anxious to find a way to increase income. As part of a newly-formed local Interweave self-reliance group, Margarita has joined her neighbors in Patzicia, Guatemala in a program to improve her business income and make a better life for herself and her children.

"Without more formal business training, many people such as Margarita struggle from loan to loan, but have difficulty building their business in a sustainable fashion." Says Dr. Curtis. "The Interweave MBS (Masters of Business in the Streets) addresses this issue, and through our proprietary training, recipients who have little formal education participate in a self-reliance group, that provides on-going training on the 6 P's of Business, as well as receive support and encouragement from an organized group that is committed to helping all group members succeed."

Margarita is one of thousands of individuals participating in a major new collaboration between Interweave Solutions and Mentors International. This partnership is geared to bring the Interweave MBS program to 10,000 Mentors’ micro-loan clients in six countries worldwide.

Last week, Interweave Co-founder, Lynn Curtis, trained Mentors leaders from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Peru in Guatemala City to launch this program in their respective countries. With the Latin American program now in place, Mentors program manager Nathan McClellan will take the program to staff and clients in Ghana and Philippines later this summer.

Curtis notes that Interweave frequently works with organizations such as Mentors to “move their clients from poverty to prosperity through neighborhood self-reliance groups.” Applying Interweaves’ 6P’s of Business approach – often referred to as an MBS – “Masters of Business in the Streets” - participants will form hundreds of participant-run groups to help each other apply practices to improve their businesses, homes and communities.

Many of the participants like Margarita are members of Guatemala’s indigenous Keckchiquel tribe, and speak Spanish as a second language. To help several of these participants master business basics, Interweave’s specialized training also includes help with literacy skills needed to succeed in business.

With an infectious laugh and a new burst of hope, Margarita concludes the program’s introductory session by leading her neighbors in an impromptu pledge to keep moving forward. “We’ll help each other stay strong and make our businesses grow.”

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