Gaining the right tools to grow a prosperous business
The ongoing political conflict in Venezuela has displaced millions of people, including Nidia Ramona and Carlos Cáceres, who arrived in Lima, Peru as migrants in 2017.
Before she and her husband migrated, Nidia, a 40-year-old mother of two teenage sons, worked on the administration board at a Venezuelan university and sold cosmetics as a side business. Carlos worked at a vineyard.
When they arrived in Peru, the couple’s transition was difficult and they found themselves selling food in the streets. Venezuelans often spend long days travelling to neighbouring countries and because they’ve left Venezuela illegally, they carry only their essential clothing. What little money they do manage to bring with them is not helpful because the Venezuelan Bolivar, their currency, has hardly any value.
“It was really hard,” said Nidia.
After the COVID-19 pandemic started, Nidia and Carlos decided to start a pizza parlour business. When Nidia learned about Cuso International’s Sustainable Colombian Opportunities for Peacebuilding and Employment (SCOPE) project, she knew she had to apply.
Working with Cuso International local partners Encuentros SJM and Asociación Kallpa, the SCOPE project supports vulnerable Venezuelan and Peruvian populations to land formal jobs or create self-employment opportunities in the Lima/Callao, Piura, and Arequipa regions in Peru.
Through SCOPE, Nidia and Carlos have received marketing tools and legal advice to strengthen their business. They’ve also participated in workshops about sales and customer service.
“Things have gotten better since we started. We have better income and have more space,” said Nidia.
The days are long at their restaurant, De LILIS PIZZAS. Nidia and Carlos prepare most of their ingredients from scratch before opening their doors to take customer orders for eight-slice pizzas— which customers can order for pick-up or delivery.
Although life was challenging when the pair first came to Peru, Carlos says things have improved since they started their business.
“Since we’ve been working, we feel like a part of the community, like it’s our home,” he said.
Nidia and Carlos hope to grow their business and move into a bigger space. Although they are having success at their current location, Carlos said he knows there is potential to grow.
“I’m very grateful to be able to learn more, to be able to go into business and for all the help that we’ve gotten,” said Nidia.
Nidia and Carlos are just two of more than 10,000 migrants and vulnerable people who have received support from Cuso International’s SCOPE project. Due to its success in Colombia over the last eight years, SCOPE expanded into Peru in 2023.