March 2017 – December 2017


Aid to Artisans and Manos Nicas, a past Market Readiness Program graduate, are implementing the project “Business Accelerator for a Growing Artisan Enterprise in Nicaragua.” Manos Nicas is a young artisan enterprise with retail locations in three tourist regions and a fourth store opening in Managua in January 2017. This growing company is under the dynamic leadership of local entrepreneurs who have set their business on an ambitious growth track. At this crucial point in their development, Manos Nicas need a business accelerator program to continue their growth in local, regional and international markets, and provide work for an increasing number of Nicaraguan artisans.

Funded by the Finnish organization “Foundation Solidarity”, this project aims to support Manos Nicas firmly on its path to growth, at the pulse of market-driven demand. ATA projects establish ongoing links between entrepreneurs and local, regional, and international markets.  The ultimate goals are ongoing business relationships, repeat orders, increased sales over time, and improved profitability and livelihoods, while preserving culture and environment. This will be achieved through five interventions:

  • Assessment for product and training needs on-site.
  • New design development workshop by international designer.
  • Production follow up.
  • Local and international market linkages.
  • Long distance coaching and mentoring.

Accomplishments as of April 30, 2017

  • A Rapid Assessment was conducted in the state of Esteli and included the city of Esteli, Totogalpa, Cayantu, Capulin and Mozonte through visits to artisan communities, workshops and community centers.
  • A Reto Diseño executed by Manos Nicas was implemented as well. It included a Nicaraguan network of artisan retail stores and the Manos Nicas training division, dedicated to human development, gender issues and business training. This was the first event of this kind in Nicaragua. It focused on launching a discussion on how to revitalize design in Nicaragua, making it relevant to local markets and expand into the global arena.

Project Lead in the US

Monika Steinberger
Director of Program Management and Business