Tania Cedillos de González's Testimonial
Tania Cedillos de González was awarded a scholarship under the Regional eWomen Program of the eCommerce Institute and the Alliance for eTrade Development II, a public-private partnership for Global Development funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This call for scholarships had the objective of supporting MSMEs in the development of digital skills and access to tools to participate in international e-commerce.
Tania is a native of El Salvador and took the Initial Program in Digital Commerce of the eCommerce Institute in 2022. She learned to use digital tools, and started selling through marketplaces. Today, she tells us how she is making progress with her 2 ventures and the challenges that remain to be overcome.
How did you come to know about the scholarship?
I found out about the scholarship through USAID's social networks, specifically on Instagram, I remember writing and they provided me with all the information to participate in the scholarship.
Tell us briefly about yourself and your project (position, studies, previous experiences, what your project is about, number of years in the market, target served, website, etc).
My profession is lawyer and notary, I worked for many years in public administration, specifically with women, in the strengthening of women's rights and economic autonomy. Currently I work for a large-scale export printing company owned by two women, which is why I have always loved working with women.
a) Los Nekos Products https://www.instagram.com/productoslosnekos/
It consists of the elaboration of gourmet foods, such as barbecue sauce, coffee that we grow, smoke &bbq rub, and olive oil with dehydrated chili that we grow among others. I have undertaken this project with my husband and father-in-law. Our venture is 1 year and 4 months old. We have our products in 3 points of sale, and the rest we sell through social networks, WhatsApp, and marketplaces. Our target is women and men from 30 years old to 65 years old, which are the ages of the people who buy our product.
It consists of the manufacture and confection of wallets and briefcases of genuine leather fabric. This project has been around for 1 year and 4 months. Everything is handmade. We work with a family group, specifically indigenous women, who weave the briefcases and purses, and the making of them is done by older adults. The idea of this business is to strengthen the economic autonomy of indigenous women and elderly people (fair trade) in accordance with the designs provided by us. These handbags have been exported to Australia and the United States. Our target is women.
How did the idea come about, was it before or after the scholarship?
Both ideas started before the scholarship. Regarding Productos Los Nekos, it originated because we have land where we grow coffee and both my father-in-law and my husband love to cook barbecue products, so I gave them the idea that we market the products, so that the coffee farm would be self-sustainable and that people would try our products. We even have customers in Guatemala who love it.
With MENT, I always had the idea of seeking to strengthen the economic autonomy of other vulnerable populations, such as indigenous women and the elderly, and the fact that people can appreciate handmade products.
How do you think this type of program benefits women?
The benefit is on a large scale since with these scholarships, we have had access to new ways to market the products and how to better follow the production and supply chain, and how to manage finances. In addition to modernizing our knowledge of social networks and how they work.
Do you think there is little scholarship offered for women?
I think so, there is almost no access to scholarships, but mostly soft loans.
What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome in order to have your digital sales channel? Do you think the course you took at the eCommerce Institute helped you? Tell us why.
Of course the course I took helped me since it helped me to focus the advertising guidelines in a better way. I managed to improve my sales channels before I had them in the marketplace and now yes, thanks to them I have increased some sales or at least I have reached more people who know the brands.
How do you foresee the future after learning? Do you have challenges to overcome? If so, tell us what are your biggest pain points.
The challenge to overcome is the time to dedicate to the business, such as obtaining soft loans or non-refundable credits to strengthen the enterprises and be able to go further. The challenges to overcome are also that, for example, Productos Los Nekos are products normally marketed by men, so now that they see a woman behind this enterprise, I find myself breaking paradigms that not only men can grow coffee or market it like the rest of the products.
About the briefcases, the challenge is that people understand that handmade products take time to make, therefore it is a more expensive product since the price of each process is respected by each enterprise, that is, from those who make the fabric, those who make the briefcase and those who market the briefcases to the end customer. Another challenge is to enter the European or American foreign market, i.e. to place our products in stores abroad or participate in fairs abroad, since it requires a lot of resources to keep knocking on doors abroad.
What can you tell other women who are looking for a way to train, but cannot access a program?
There are always ways and means to find scholarships and training for women, the idea is not to give up and to support each other.
Would you like to add any comments?
I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to be trained through a scholarship that was very useful for my projects.