Starting with corn fresh from the fields and a machete, Consuela Alcantar Cota makes 300 tamales a day and proves how much difference a small loan can make. Photo/Mary Rutland

Four years ago, Consuela Alcantar Cota, a middle-aged woman, started a wholesale tamale business with the aid of loans from Grameen de la Frontera in Sonora, Mexico. At her home, she greets visitors warmly and demonstrates how to husk corn in just one or two blows with a machete-like knife.

Consuela is on her fifth loan of 5,000 pesos (about $500) and, with the help of her husband, children and grandchildren, produces 300 tamales a day.  From scratch.

She is deservedly proud of her business and her entire family’s involvement. She sells her tamales to schools and community members for six pesos each, making a profit of one to two pesos per tamale.

Consuela has many plans for her business. She wants to expand by purchasing a larger work table and an industrial stove.  That way, she said, she could make tamales for all of Mexico!