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Latin America & the Caribbean

Cemaco: Supporting jobs and sustainable development in Guatemala

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Country: Guatemala
Sector: Retail

Challenge: In a region of widespread poverty, high unemployment limits opportunity and many small businesses struggle to access the financing they need to expand their operations and hire more workers.

Solution: In 2008, OPIC, through a small business lending facility with WorldBusiness Capital Inc. of Hartford, Conn., committed a $10 million loan to support the expansion of Cemaco, a family-owned hardware and home goods chain that is committed to supporting high labor standards and promoting local manufacturers.

Impact: The 2008 loan enabled Cemaco to open a new 80,000 square foot flagship store in Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala; remodel another store and hire 200 workers in jobs that provide strong wages and bonuses, benefits, training and significant opportunities for advancement. This has supported economic growth and diversification in some poor communities, and Cemaco’s commitment to use a portion of the loan money for local procurement has also benefited some local communities and provided a way for indigenous and rural artisans to join the formal economy.

Because Cemaco is also a member of an ACE Hardware Corp. cooperative, the project has resulted in the procurement of more than $31 millions of U.S.-manufactured hardware supplies.

This projects was profiled in 2015