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Chips, Salsa, and Saying Yes to Business

Marisela table spread

Marisela never planned on becoming a businesswoman. In college, the Ecuadorian studied hospitality—a perfect fit for her bubbly personality and warm smile. In the decades after graduating, she built her career, most recently managing a medical clinic while raising her two children.  

 Then one day she met a businessman from Mexico. As they got to talking, the man told Marisela about his business: he made and sold corn tortillas, chips, and salsa. Then he did something Marisela wasn’t expecting.

He asked if she wanted to purchase his entire business. 

Marisela had no experience marketing a product, and she didn’t know anything about making tortilla chips, but she did know people. The more she thought about the offer, the more she felt called to business. 

And so, Marisela said “yes.” 

First Steps as a Newfound Businesswoman

Now in possession of her own business, Marisela got to work improving it.  

She traveled to Mexico to learn improved tortilla cooking methods, which dramatically increased the quality and efficiency of her production. Previously, it took three people to cook 80 pounds of corn. Now her team of four can cook 300 pounds!  

But even with her improved methods, Marisela needed help. She had the technical know-how and people skills, but she still lacked the marketing techniques to take her business to the next level. 


Overcoming a Business Plateau Through Partnership

After a year of operating her business, Marisela saw an advertisement for Cuenca Partners—a local partner of Partners Worldwide—at her church. She realized that with training, she could learn more about marketing a product. She enrolled in the PW microenterprise training program and was paired up with a mentor. 

Since graduating from the PW program, Marisela has created brand packaging for her products, and has seen sales rise from $1,000 per month to over $15,000 per month. Already, she has expanded to a larger facility, and has created employment for seven people: five factory workers, one store clerk, and a delivery driver. And, with the help of her profits, both of Marisela’s children have been able to attend college! 

But Marisela has even bigger plans for her business.  

Although most Mexican restaurants in the Cuenca area use her chips, there are other markets she hasn’t been able to reach yet. Demand is simply too great for her current supply. As such, her plans for this coming year are to expand her factory, add better lighting and ventilation, and employ more workers, which will set her on her way toward meeting the demand for her popular product. 

Marisela and chips

Thank You For Helping Marisela Create Impact

Marisela’s story is just one of thousands that have been made possible through your invaluable support. From mentoring and donations to prayer and partnership, we are grateful for all that you do to support the work of PW around the world. And, if you’re ever in Cuenca, make sure to visit Marisela’s shop, MAIX, for a taste of Mexico you won’t be able to resist.