GROW to Host International Fellow Through the End of 2015

A four-month long fellowship will provide Selenia Rodríguez with
knowledge and skills to empower Costa Rican businesswomen

Grand Rapids, Mich.- Selenia Rodríguez, a community development professional with a major in Business from Costa Rica, has taken on a four month long international fellowship at GROW in Grand Rapids via Community Solutions Program, a professional development program for global community leaders sponsored by The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State.

She will be part of the GROW team until December of 2015.

Selenia Rodriguez, GROW international fellowThe business model provided by GROW inspired Rodríguez to gain first hand learning experience and translate it to the needs of the businesswomen in her home country.
“I was inspired to pursue this fellowship because it will provide me with the exposure, resources, skills, knowledge, networks, and a worldview to help my country,” said Selenia Rodríguez, the international fellow at GROW. “My experiences and knowledge will create opportunities for female micro-entrepreneurs to start, sustain and grow their business by learning from this U.S. host organization.”

One of her driving forces, said Rodríguez, it is to provide equal opportunities between women and men in entrepreneurship in response the fact that in Costa Rica today, out of the 72% small businesses that operate, a paltry 17% are women-owned. Of all Latin American and Caribbean countries, Costa Rica is the lowest ranking in providing loans for women to support their business. However, women in Costa Rica double the percentage than men when I comes to starting their own business.

One of Rodríguez’s many goals for her fellowship is to learn what it takes to empower women in the world of business. GROW’s model will give her the tools to evaluate the best way for women in her country to learn and benefit from the model.

Selenia Photo 1“I will use my skills, knowledge and network acquired in GROW to exploit opportunities in my country, so
that women’s economic potential can be fully utilized. It will be possible by providing women with access to entrepreneurial resources to start, grow and sustain their businesses through the implementation of training, mentoring, and coaching programs, in spite of their socio-economical background.”

Additionally upon her return, from January to June 2016 Rodríguez will see to the successful implementation of the program EmpowerHER! for the first time in collaboration with The University of Costa Rica. This program will benefit up to thirty economically disadvantaged businesswomen in San Ramon of Alajuela, Costa Rica.

For her long term goals she said: “I would like to start up the first Women’s Business Resources Center in my community in partnership with some other entrepreneurial organizations that are currently working to empower women business owners and increase accessibility in the market,” said Rodríguez.

If you have questions for Selenia or would like more information about this program, please contact GROW directly.