There is no lack of talented, hard-working people in Honduras, yet high poverty and unemployment rates continue to plague the country. One reason for this is the significant barriers to entry for starting a business, which has left many Hondurans—especially those less fortunate—unable to pursue careers or earn a living. With little hope for wealth creation in their own country, many have fled to other countries for the chance to work. To change this, Atlas Network partner Fundación Eléutera has worked with the government of Honduras to improve and promote Mi Empresa en Línea (My Company Online), a website that reduces the amount of time, money, and paperwork required to register a business in Honduras—now, becoming a business owner is more attainable than it has ever been.
Before Mi Empresa en Línea, the only way to legally register your business required a fee of 6,148 Honduran lempiras (about $250 USD), the hiring of a notary, and dozens of documents that took tremendous time and effort. Thanks to Fundación Eléutera’s continued advocacy for improvements to, and promotion of the website, the cost of registering a business has been cut by 80 percent and the process has been simplified so that it is much easier for people to start their own companies, employing themselves and others in Honduras.
“Hondurans only need 3 documents and a computer with internet access to enter www.miempresaenlinea.org. In 25 minutes you will receive the authorization to sign the contract that authorizes the registration of the business,” explained Elena Toledo, Fundación Eléutera’s CEO. “The only payment is approximately $40 for a certificate and to be affiliated with the local Chamber of Commerce.”
Mi Empresa en Línea has improved the lives of countless Hondurans who are now able to pursue entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency. Erick Galeas, a migrant and single dad who returned to Honduras after a year and a half of living in the U.S. illegally, used the service to start a new business that is helping him provide for his family.
Toledo described Galeas’ story and what this new service has meant to him.
“We registered Erick's business, and about two weeks ago he came to visit us. He already has a bank account in the name of his business, and that day he was going to collect his first check for an order that was made to his business.”
Galeas is just one of countless Hondurans that have been empowered through Fundación Eléutera’s work, many of whom would have been barred from legal employment opportunities were it not for Mi Empresa en Línea.
With Mi Empresa en Linea, Hondurans are finding it easier to build better jobs, greater wealth, and improved lives in their home country. “We have had experiences working with very poor people who previously could not register their business and now have more income—now they can do it,” concluded Toledo. “Or older people who did not dare to dedicate their retirement life to business—now they are doing it. Those who have gone through prison and their criminal record did not allow them to have a job—now they are starting as entrepreneurs to have a new life.”