On October 27, in Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo, seventeen indigenous women artisans (and family representatives of two others) gathered for the first time to learn what each produces, to choose their Cooperative’s legal name and to begin training on how to build the first Regional Cooperative of indigenous artisans in Hidalgo.
Organic peanuts, coffee beans, mangos, beautiful and ornate embroidery and wood sculptures are some of the many products Mujeres Emprendedoras FECU will export outside the Region.
Marisela Romero Cruz, PSYDEH’s coordinator of the human rights-based indigenous women’s Network of Organizations and Cooperative, moderated the day’s activities.
Two international businesswomen students from Tulancingo, Hidalgo’s UNIVERSIDAD ETAC, (PSYDEH interns), facilitated the morning session. There, all spoke about the value of a regional network and collaborative production and the women named their cooperative “Mujeres Emprendedoras FECU” or Women Entrepreneurs FECU (“Fuerza” (Strength), “Entregables” (Deliverables), “Cooperación” (Cooperation), “Unión” (Union)).
Cristina Pérez Duarte Garrido, an expert in incubating new enterprises from the Center for Business Incubation at Hidalgo’s state university, La Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Hidalo (UAEH), facilitated the afternoon session. Cristina invited the artisans to explore why and how the cooperative model enhances productivity, aggregates resources and facilitates information and technology sharing. They also engaged on how a profitable Cooperative yields such member benefits as greater value for traditional products, new product distribution networks and a regional currency that empowers sustainable development.
Cooperative members finished the day by learning about each other’s unique work and discussing forthcoming training and how they can showcase their goods at, and lobby local government to support the production of, the second annual Public Forum on November 25, 2015 in Acaxochitlán, Hidalgo.