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When we talk about entrepreneurship, we are not only talking about innovation and blue oceans , but also about an investment opportunity and profitability in the medium and long term. Even more important, we talk about stories of people who have decided to venture into their own business and greater financial independence. For them, there are several alternatives when deciding to start a business. On the one hand, they have the possibility of starting a company from scratch with their own means, or exploring a franchise model, which stand out for offering a proven bet which represents a support when undertaking. That there are around 1,500 franchises operating in Mexico proves it .
Although uncertainty has defined the economic and financial conversation for the past two years, the outlook is encouraging for Mexican women. Certainly, the way to go is long, and there are still things to change; However, the achievements of women entrepreneurs in the country are worth celebrating within and outside the framework of the International Day of Women Entrepreneurs.
Impact of franchises in Mexico
In a study carried out by the Mexican Franchise Association (AMF) , it was detected that, at the end of 2019, the franchise sector in Mexico contributed 4.2% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with an annual growth of 8% . That is to say, it presents a growth greater than that of the national economy. Likewise, it was identified that franchises are capable of generating around 900,000 jobs per year. Finally, of the total number of franchises that exist in the country, 85% are national, while the remaining 15% come from abroad.
Women are gaining ground
According to INEGI, in Mexico only 19% of entrepreneurs are women. However, its participation in economic sectors such as commerce –the sector with the greatest weight within the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP )–, social services, restaurants, and accommodation services, exceeds 50%; women are a pillar of the national economy.
Araceli, from working in the maquiladora industry to owning her own business
Araceli Meraz is one of the many Mexican women who have decided that her own business was the next step in her development, and she has done it with the help of a franchise model. That is how after 15 years of dedicating himself to Human Resources, he decided to investigate the best options to achieve it, and finally came up with Subway ‘s proposal: “It was born from a feeling of wanting to undertake, of wanting to spend more time with my family and of keep working, ”he says. At that time, Subway was showing strong growth both nationally and locally in Ciudad Juárez , and the creditworthiness it offered was what helped her make a decision. The versatility of this model and her flexibility to be close to her children led her to open her restaurant in 2009.
A fast and close service
Araceli, from Ciudad Juárez, worked for many years in the Human Resources area in the maquiladora industry, which helped her recognize that personal relationships are an important pillar for professional growth, something that would be key in her new adventure. “I wanted to continue growing, and being in charge of an area like Human Resources helps you understand that people are the most important thing. At Subway, more than collaborators we are a family ”.
The closeness with the client and with the members of her team has been one of her hallmarks, which has undoubtedly made her a great leader and entrepreneur. “I really enjoy being aware of the restaurant and accompanying the team. Every time I have the opportunity, I like to offer a tasting to our clients and look for an “excuse” to be able to live with the boys and that we grow as a team. The essential thing is to always be there and take care of everyone ”.
Where there are challenges, there are also achievements
If adversity teaches us anything, it is that we can always face them. Hygiene measures that were taken in the wake of the pandemic greatly impacted the economy and the lifestyle of everyone in front of and behind the counter. “Making the team feel safe in the midst of uncertainty and offering a good service avoiding contagion was the most important thing in recent years,” said Araceli. In addition, Mexico and the world are navigating an economic recovery process, so supporting customers is an aspect that every business must take care of. Against this background, Araceli continued to see a profitable model in Subway: “One of the main achievements that I like to celebrate is having been one of the places with the most sales.”
A lifestyle for women seeking entrepreneurship
According to INEGI figures, of the total number of women entrepreneurs that exist in the country, 29% sought to have their own business and greater financial independence, while 20% did so to improve the quality of life for themselves and their families.
Without a doubt, Mexican women are workers, and for Araceli success is also measured by the lifestyle that she leads. Financial independence and labor flexibility are elements that make service-oriented franchises prosper: “Being in charge of this restaurant adapts very well to a woman with a family in time and schedule, in such a way that even on days of inventory, I have time to get everything ready, spend time with my children and go to work ”.
Leading a business implies facing challenges and always being willing to identify and bet on the opportunities that may arise. “Women have many opportunities to undertake; my advice for them is that they find what they are passionate about, sow it and make it grow ”, concludes Araceli. Without a doubt, adverse situations are going to be present, whether it is started from scratch, it seeks to innovate in the market, or it replicates a pre-existing model.
This International Day of Women Entrepreneurs, the stories of tenacious and passionate women, such as Araceli’s experience, can serve as an example for all those who have a dream, a motivation and want to prosper from the hand of their own business.