Start a small business

Funding required: $155,250

This project will help: 1,230 caregivers across El Salvador

Estimated completion date: March 2021

Country: El Salvador

In April 2020, Ecuador experienced the unimaginable. South America became the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic and Ecuador’s already fragile health system collapsed under the strain. Hospitals were overrun and understaffed. News outlets began to reveal horrendous images of bodies stacked on the streets.

For 41 years, Compassion International has been partnering with churches in El Salvador to help release children from poverty In Jesus’ name.

Known for its amazing sunsets and diverse ecology, El Salvador has been steadily recovering from its 12-year civil war that started in the 1980. Crime and violence, a lack of educational opportunities and high unemployment plague its people. The World Bank estimates that close to 30 per cent of El Salvadorians live in moderate poverty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the economic vulnerability of many families. It is estimated that 17 per cent of companies have closed and 50 per cent of “formal jobs” have been affected by closure due to the pandemic. According to the country’s employment data, this is approximately 350,000 jobs lost to date. However, the actual impact is much higher. The numbers do not take into consideration that 70 per cent of El Salvadorians are “informal workers,” who rely on their daily wage to provide for their families.

Help caregivers earn a living by starting a small business



Since 2008 Compassion El Salvador has trained graduating sponsored teens to implement small family businesses. Initially, older teens were trained in agricultural plot farming. The program augmented family income, created self-employment and enabled a self-sustaining lifestyle. Compassion El Salvador has a track record of success. Students and their families learned how to assess marketplace opportunities in their communities, and how to advertise, sell and budget for today and the future. They have started small enterprises from agriculture to various street vending shops or carts.

The need

In May 2020, Compassion El Salvador surveyed church partners to determine the five greatest needs during the pandemic, as well as their order of priority. 35 per cent of our church partners prioritized the need for start-up capital for family business as an alternative to food security. Your investment will assist 1,230 caregivers by providing training and resources to start sustainable entrepreneurship activities in the areas of food and beverages, production and commerce.

What your gift will do

  • Basic investment in small-scale businesses for 637 families
    • Purchasing vegetables, fruits and eggs, or supplies for making and selling cleaning products
  • Basic investment in medium-scale businesses for 351 families
    • Purchasing small kitchen appliances to make tortillas and pupusas, or vending carts to sell food
  • Basic investment in large-scale businesses for 242 families
  • Purchasing weaving machines to make tablecloths and hammocks, or sewing machines to make masks
  • 4 online workshops covering viable business opportunities, creating business plans, marketing principles and business finances
  • Teaching materials for use in workshops (eg, guides and business ledgers)
    • Internet connectivity for caregivers
  • COVID-19 personal protective equipment for in-person monitoring visits


  • Local contribution: US$29,250, which will support the business workshops.
  • Monitoring: Centre staff and church leaders will closely monitor this project.
  • Handling of funds: Compassion El Salvador will ensure that this intervention stays within budget.
  • Follow-up: Centre staff and church leaders will follow up with families to ensure that they are thriving.

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.