Now in its second full year, our newest program, Bridge to Success, currently has enrolled 236 female entrepreneurs. After receiving individual loans, clients take part in intensive business training for four to six months. They then create an action plan to create goals that they plan to achieve by the end of their loan.

At their half-year check-in of their action plans, Chief Strategy Officer Caitlin Scott reports that 94% had progressed to meeting their goals. Here’s what else we know about our current Bridge to Success clients:

We recently gave our largest individual loan to Bridge to Success client, Mayra, owner of Transportes López, for the purchase of a bulldozer that she will use in her construction materials business.

  • 69% of Bridge to Success clients have graduated from Trust Banks or are former clients
  • 31% are new clients
  • 63% of entrepreneurs with more than six months in the program were able to diversify their business (add new products or services)
  • 100% operate locally in Guatemala

In addition, 25% of Bridge to Success clients have renewed their loans, and only one person has defaulted on their loan. For comparison, one of our competitors in Guatemala has a 26% loan delinquency rate. We credit our strong track record so far to the high level of care our clients receive from our employees working with them on the ground in Guatemala.

Operational self-sufficiency is the goal of the Bridge to Success program, Scott says. To be able to achieve that, we’ll need to enroll a total of 1,100 clients. We hope to achieve that goal by 2025.


Elena, age 31, started her butchery business during the COVID-19 pandemic when people couldn’t travel out of their community to buy groceries. She decided to sell the meat of a bull that she already had to the people of her community, and she sold all the meat in one day. From there, she identified a market need for beef, bought more bulls, and sold the meat on the weekends. This was the beginning of her butchery, Carnicería Gónzalez.

In August 2022, Elena enrolled in our Bridge to Success program, at a time when her business still consisted of a small table in an alley behind her house. She acquired an individual loan Q30,000 ($3,850) to build a store in her home. “After receiving the loan, Friendship Bridge supported me with business advisory sessions and I learned to control the finance of my business,” Elena says. She also offers meat delivery.

Elena was awarded 1st place in the category Successful Entrepreneur for the Women’s Entrepreneur Awards 2022. The winners were selected based on the following criteria: significant business growth in the last three years, resilience to overcome challenges, application of Friendship Bridge training, responsible use of credit, community leadership, and the impact of their plans to use the cash award in their businesses. 179 women in three categories participated, all of whom received cash prizes and other in-kind benefits.

Elena used the Q15,000 ($1,900) prize money she received to buy two more bulls. She explains:

“I leveraged the profit that I obtained selling these bulls' meat to buy a bone cutter and meat grinder which helped me to improve the quality of my products. In addition, as part of the award, I participated in a Neuromarketing workshop to learn more about my clients. I got innovative ideas to improve my business and offer new products to my clients!” –Elena, Carnicería Gónzalez

Elena’s goal is to continue expanding her business as much as she can.

Below is the full list of the 2022 Women’s Entrepreneur Award winners:

Friendship Bridge is hosting our 3rd Annual Women Entrepreneur Awards and we would love your help raising funds for the prizes. We are looking to raise $9,000 to give to the top 3 entrepreneurs in different categories.

Donate now to support the monetary awards of the ceremony! All donations will directly fund this portion of the program.


This coming September, like in past years, we’ll be raising funds to help rural Guatemalan women receive the necessary health services they deserve, through our Health for Life program. We do this by asking our supporters and staff to choose a health goal for themselves, then sign up to crowdfund for our Health for Life Challenge online to meet that health goal.

Now is the time to start training to hike that 14-er, run a half marathon, set a goal to walk 30 minutes each day, or eat healthier starting in September. 

What will your #HealthForLife Challenge be? Look for more information on our website next month!

- Friendship Bridge

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Friendship Bridge
405 Urban St Suite 140 | Lakewood, Colorado 80228

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