An entrepreneurial journey in Guatemala


Eunice Cristel Marroquín

Eunice Cristel Marroquín studies in the Hotel Management and Gastronomy technical degree program at the Universidad Rafael Landivar (URL). 

Cristel first learned about the Advance Program through her participation in the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) program called, Grupo de Jovenes Constuctores.  The program provides support to youth between the ages of 16 and 24, that is unemployed and out of school.  The program offers job placement services, support for youth to start their own business or to return to school.  Cristel was eager to start her own business, but she also had a strong interest to go back to school.   

Cristel was awarded the Advance Program scholarship and she also received seed funding from CRS which allowed her to buy equipment and products to bake cakes, something she is extremely passionate about.  Despite growing up with limited resources, Eunice has always sought out support for her studies and career development.  Early in 2018 she received a scholarship from the Centro Ecumenico de Integracion Pastoral (CEIPA) for a one-year baking course which allowed her to begin her microbusiness.   

Cristel’s family has provided her with much needed support through this journey, helping her purchase an oven for her baking.  Her strategy is simple, bake cakes and sell them by the slice.  Cristel knocks on door after door in her neighborhood to sell her beautiful and delicious products. In order to balance her work with her studies, Cristel is currently selling an average of 3 cakes per week.  On a good week, her sales increase to 5 cakes as she has the time to conduct more door to door sales.   

As an Advance Program scholarship recipient Cristel has had the opportunity to learn strategies to improve her business.  She has learned to calculate costs and to use standard recipes to establish real costs for her business.  In her courses she has also learned about product diversification and has introduced beverages to pair with her cakes.  Her entrepreneurial dream is to continue growing her business.  Her next step is to have her home be a fixed selling point for her cakes to avoid having to go door by door to sell as she has been a victim of crime during her work time.   

She would also like to create publicity for her business and this way she can sell cakes by orders received.  Cristel has taught her younger sister to bake and when the exam period at URL comes along, her sister is instrumental in helping her bake cakes to balance her workload.  Cristel lives with her parents and her three younger sisters.  When she has free time, she helps her mom sell snacks in the Mercado Democracia of Quetzaltenango.