When Dreamers become Leaders: Understanding a spectrum of needs among women entrepreneurs in Guatemala

Abstract

This research brief summarizes key findings from a recent qualitative study that was designed by Freedom from Hunger and its partner Friendship Bridge to understand the Friendship Bridge client and her business challenges and opportunities, using a methodology originally conceived by Freedom from Hunger in 2008 known as “impact stories.” The data collected from the impact stories were meant to support the client segmentation process that is currently underway in Friendship Bridge. The goal of the segmentation study and process is to facilitate Friendship Bridge’s ability to identify common client needs and to design products and services that meet those needs as they occur on a spectrum—from a "Dreamer" client with a new business and a few goals, to an "Entrepreneur" who has maturing business needs and a sharper vision, to a "Leader" who is in a position to transform her micro-business to a small or medium sized enterprise. What this research process unveiled is that a woman’s context seems to stand out as a very important factor—not to be overlooked—that will determine the opportunity she has to grow her business: either from choice or lack of choice. Context also seems to be influencing the second important finding from this study, which is about motivation and overall vision for the future. A client’s motivation and vision for the future of her business appears to be what really drives her potential for growth.