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Helping women entrepreneurs build business skills


Post by guest contributor Juan Martin Barrero, managing director, HPE Central America

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Recently, five Costa Rica employees participated in Leadership through Service, a pilot program that enables HPE volunteers to use their knowledge and skills to promote the development and growth of women entrepreneurs.

HPE is a long-time advocate of pro bono volunteering. We provide our employees with many opportunities to provide their skilled services to the community. Everyone needs a little help now and then and that’s especially true when you’re starting a business. Fledgling companies face many challenges—perhaps none as critical as a lack of access to senior management counsel and experience.

Our fantastic team of volunteers worked together for weeks to plan a comprehensive suite of courses. Each is an expert in a specific business discipline. During the five-day workshop, they worked in pairs to present and facilitate—covering topics such as how to strengthen marketing plans; identify potential new markets, product lines, and business opportunities; and even develop partnerships with the other entrepreneurs.

By ensuring they each brought different skills to the workshops, not only did our volunteers broaden their knowledge, they also made new relationships and enhanced their leadership skills.

The result was successful beyond our dreams. By the end of the workshops, each entrepreneur was required to present a new business plan, based on the skills they had learned. Every single one showed a deeper understanding and command of the tools required to grow their business.

“My fellow entrepreneurs and I took full advantage of the workshops,” said Priscilla Aguirre, entrepreneur and workshop participant. “After they were held many of us shared the information and knowledge we gained with other women business owners.

“We were very impressed with the commitment and dedication of the HPE team, they did an amazing job. They provided us with some great insights in many important areas and shared great real life examples and best practices from other companies as well. Now I’m in a better position to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, and to plan future projects more effectively. I now feel that I have a better vision for my company!”

I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the Leadership through Service pilot in Costa Rica. Through the contribution of our employees, these amazing women have the tools to continue to innovate, and grow their businesses. This will serve as a model for future Leadership through Service projects to come.

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Juan Martin Barrero is the Managing Director & Enterprise Group Country Manager for Central America & Venezuela. In this role, he is responsible for EG and Pan-HPE growth and customer satisfaction in CALA (Panamá, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela) as well as the development of all Central America operations.

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