Business Overview

Matilde Reyes is a proud member of the community of Zapallal. She sells popsicles called “duros” as well as a variety of other homemade snacks and products. She’s also a member of the community bank. 

Mati's Duros - Zapallal, Panama

Economic Challenge

Matilde’s business is in a good location, it is about 3-5 minutes walk from El Zapallal’s high school, therefore, during school time there are a lot of clients and it is the best season for her business. Nevertheless, her business has grown and she is now seeking to build a stand or store close to her house, in her private lot. She knows that this is an expensive endeavour, but that with proper planning she can make it work. Therefore, she would like to learn how she could adequately plan while reducing risk. Right now, for her, this is one of her main challenges. Additionally, she would like to learn new ideas for her marketing strategy, which she developed in her previous brigade and she is excited about learning other tactics to grow her clientele and business.

The Business

Matilde started her micro-enterprise when she joined the community bank (2018). She realized that with access to credit she could finally undertake her dream: to start her own business. She started small but strong, with a loan for $300.00 USD that allowed her to start her ‘duros’ (popsicle) and ice cream business. This was fundamental. Matilde had a medical urgency later that year and she got a loan for $300.00 USD which she paid back with her profits from her micro-enterprise. Matilde is unstoppable, as she has now gotten a new loan to invest on her business and in the construction of a septic tank, which will better her family wellbeing. She is proud to say that her business is truly becoming a profitable operation, but she knows that there is a lot still to learn, and she is always eager to learn more about how she could manage her business better.

Competitive Advantage

There are not that many places that sell the same variety of goods that Matilde sales at her house. She has popcorn, sandwiches, ice-cream and popsicles. Each of them cater to different client segments in the community, for example: she sales ice-cream and popsicles for high school students, but the sandwiches are usually for families in the neighborhood. She likes to learn about what people in the community like and then she tries to offer products to supply that demand.


Mati is a very wise and go-getter woman. She understands her community and its social dynamics, but she lacks the business knowledge to find opportunities for growth and the development of her business. Certainly, with adequate training and follow up, Matilde will be able to develop her business and contribute to the wellbeing and development of her family and her neighborhood.

Business Snapshot

Total Investment (inventory/equipment)
approx. $1000
Average monthly investment
Average monthly cost of sales
Average monthly profits

Next Steps

The tasks thatMati's Duros has prioritized are:

1: Learn more about budgeting
2: Build a physical kiosk to sell her products

Business Brigades that have consulted this business:

# of Volunteers
# of Volunteers
Miami University of Ohio, Boston University, & University of Missouri Business
January 2019

Page Last Updated:February 26, 2020