Entrepreneur: Philip Alexander Gammans Arias
HQ: Carazo, Nicaragua
Number of Employees: 48
GIIRS Rating: coming soon
Philip Alexander Gammans Arias knows snacks. The Nicaraguan entrepreneur has accumulated a nearly 20-year history in the food industry. More than 17 years ago, Philip and his wife opened a confectionery distributor called GEA Distribution. The company grew steadily, eventually amassing over 100 employees. Over the arc of that growth, Philip realized that the expansion of his business offered something very important to the surrounding community – a job.
Employment numbers in Nicaragua are deceiving. Official statistics place unemployment at 7.8%. However, once you dig below the surface, a less attractive underemployment rate of nearly 50% reveals itself. Areas outside the country’s economic hub, Managua, are hit particularly hard. ”Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” Philip explains. “The people need jobs, especially outside the major cities.”
Nicaragua had a need – a need for affordable snacks. “I had traveled throughout Southeast Asia and found that they were selling wafer snacks at much better prices than we were,” Philip states. “Back in Nicaragua, the only wafer snacks we had were imported from the U.S. and they were often too expensive for people to purchase.” Philip then set up a factory in 2009 to begin producing wafer snacks for the local population at a lower cost than the imported competition. This new company was called Industrias Carphil.
Today, Industrias Carphil employs 48 people, 96% of whom are under the age of 30, and 50% of whom are women. Philip strategically placed the company’s operations about 38 miles from Managua in Carazo, were the underemployment crisis had hit particularly hard. “There were technical schools in the area,” Philip states. “So many young people were graduating without a job. By placing our factory near the school, we were able to offer these students a proper job.” Carphil provides the local community with a reliable source of income and families, in turn, don’t feel pressured to urbanize for employment opportunities.
“We want to expand into Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic,” Philip states. “We are so happy that we have been able to establish our product in Nicaragua. We’re making an impact everyday by providing stable jobs and giving our employees hope for the future.”