For plant nursery owner
Her parents, sister and husband — with whom she has two young children — help Flores with her nursery, which she established four years ago in Santa Rosa Xochiac, Mexico. "My brother, who passed away, has been the inspiration for this nursery. His name is Jesus Flores. And he has been a wonderful light and an inspiration for all that we have created," says Flores through an interpreter.
Flores began selling roses and other flowers 12 years ago at a small stall on the street. After she applied for credit from Banco Compartamos, Mexico's largest microfinance institution, she began to grow her business. Today, her nursery, The Oak, sells a variety of plants, flowers, soil and gardening tools.
"Life is difficult here where we live. But now we can cover our expenses, the education of our children and all the needs of our family," says Flores. "It has also been a benefit for other families because we have provided some work."
Building relationships with customers like Flores is central to Banco Compartamos' mission, which aims to serve low-income, underbanked populations. Founded in 1990 as a local finance company, Banco Compartamos is now the largest microfinance bank in Mexico, providing over $1 billion in loans to more than 2 million small businesses, 90 percent of which are women-owned.
"We start with trust, with going into the communities and learning what they need," says
Beyond providing products and financial services, they also focus on imparting financial education and business development opportunities. "We respect our customers," says Nieto. "We believe in their potential to grow, to improve, to create their businesses and a better life for their families. And we are just happy and proud to be able to work with them on that path."
When Flores first joined a group of entrepreneurs receiving small loans from the bank, she was 18 years old. "We didn't know how to invest money," she recalls. "We didn't have direction." But employees at the bank educated Flores and her fellow entrepreneurs about loans, investing and reinvesting. Flores invested the money she was loaned into her business, and she now helps counsel other entrepreneurs.
Flores' accomplishments have been recognized beyond her village. In 2021, she was chosen from hundreds of applicants and awarded the Compartamos Entrepreneur Prize for Mexico City. "I was excited," she says, "I won several prizes, and it was an excellent opportunity because I could see that actually, my dream was coming true with this nursery."
"The most honorable thing is family," says Flores. "That's the reason that I invited my family to be part of it. If they have a little dream, maybe it can be very little, but they can make it bigger and bigger. We are here to work and do the best for ourselves."
Over the 12 years that she has been working with Banco Compartamos, Flores has invited her cousins, aunts, uncles and friends to join the bank to help them grow not only their own businesses, but also to expand possibilities for the larger community.
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