The activity around Judith López Aceveda’s fruit stand never seems to stop. Customers buy pineapple, banana, mango, papaya, orange, tamarind, avocado and other fruits as quickly as Judith and her husband Adalí can keep up.
Just a few years before, Judith had never owned a business or worked outside her own home. Her family’s only income came from the odd jobs her husband could manage to find. But when she found an opportunity, she took the initiative to build what soon became her family’s main source of income.
Selected as a Trickle Up participant, Judith received a $100 seed capital grant. She also received training in basic business skills, such as how to keep track of her sales and business expenses. An additional training component covered the topics of self-realization and personal fulfillment, which are qualitative skills crucial to setting and achieving personal goals.
Today, Judith’s fruit stand is a successful business and a vital source of income for herself, her husband and their two daughters. She starts at 6 A.M. and works throughout the day, leaving her fruit stand table, baskets, umbrella and other assets overnight at her mother’s home, which is near the marketplace. On a really good day, Judith and her husband make between 600 and 700 córdobas (US$30-35). During the summer months, when the demand for fruit peaks, Judith estimates that she makes a profit of 1000 córdobas (about $50) in a single week, a significant sum for most people living in Nicaragua.
Judith knows the value of her fruit stand. She has a steady source of income, her children have the things they need for school, and she and her husband have a resource to draw on for their family when times are tough. But Judith doesn’t plan on selling fruit forever.
“I hope to take a sewing class so I can make myself a tailoring shop,” Judith said. The experience and benefits she’s received from her fruit stand business have given her the confidence to set and pursue her own goals. She said, “I feel good because I don’t have anyone who tells me what to do. I’m the one in charge.”