Founded in 2004, today Mercado Global supports over 300 artisans in more than 30 cooperatives across Guatemala. Called to action by the poverty they witnessed while traveling through Central America in college, Mercado’s founders had a solid mission, to link rural indigenous artisans with international markets and break the cycle of poverty. The artisans Mercado works with represent some of the most marginalized inhabitants of Guatemala – women in rural areas. By partnering with these women, Mercado Global provides donor-funded business education and leadership programs to help female artisans become independently successful business owners. By connecting these small businesses with the global market, Mercado helps women turn their skills into sustainable sources of income with which they can provide nutritious food to their families and invest in their children’s education. In doing so, Mercado takes an important step towards breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala. This partnership system is crucial to Mercado’s mission – creating change from the ground up by providing communities with the necessary tools to sustain change. These tools include basic training but extend into supporting artisans who have suffered discrimination, violence and extreme poverty. By combining business collaborations with educational programs, Mercado helps these artisans connect with sales opportunities in the US on an unprecedented scale. As a result of Mercado’s initiatives, 100% of the company’s partner artisans now report having access to electricity and potable water. Education programs have helped artisans build cooperatives in their local communities – far from being aid recipients, these women have been empowered to be leaders.
  • Women invest 90 cents for every dollar they make back into programs that support health, nutrition, and educational programs for their families and communities.
  • In a region where the average child attends school for just 1.9 years, 100% of Mercado’s original partner artisans’ elementary school-aged children are in school for the third consecutive year.
  • 100% of Mercado’s artisan's children under age of 14 are now enrolled in school 
  • Access to food has more than doubled in the communities Mercado works with.