In 2003, 23 women in Cuatro Bocas, a community in northern Costa Rica, founded Superación Femenina (“Female Advancement”). They pooled their capital—a total of 50,000 colones, or $98—and began awarding micro-loans to finance income-generating activities of the members.
The women learned about Bikes for the World partner FINCA Costa Rica. In December 2005, Superación Femenina bought 20 bikes, reconditioned them and sold them in Cuatro Bocas, making a net profit of 85,000 colones, or $67. In April 2006, the group purchased 23 bikes and cleared 161,000 colones ($316). Their profit increased because, based on feedback from FINCA Costa Rica as well as its efforts to screen out mediocre quality, Bikes for the World’s later shipment had more appropriate and higher-quality bikes.
The bike profits were plowed back into Superación Feminina’s investments, increasing their portfolio of micro-loans, and their membership. In addition, the leader of the group reports these further benefits:
- Group cohesion has been created through working together to recondition and sell the bikes;
- All the Enterprise members have purchased bicycles;
- Bicycles have become the principal means of transport for community members to go to the town of Upala, 10 kms from Cuatro Bocas; and
- Motivated by example, five other FINCA-sponsored groups (some all female and some mixed gender) have acquired 109 bicycles to recondition and sell