A push for rural entrepreneurship | News Day of Segovia

The Segovia Sur Association and CaixaBank presented the rural entrepreneurship awards under the “Land of Opportunities” program to four entrepreneurs who recently launched their projects in the territory of Segovia Sur. They fell for Monica de Andrés Tabuenca for her brand of stuffed animals, rag dolls and accessories “Monatabú” from San Cristóbal de Segovia; to Maria Silvestro and Ruben López for their campaign at the San Rafael Tree Adventure Park “De pino a pino”; to Alexia Lozano Molina for her livestock and agri-food initiative “La Cabrera”; and to Álvaro Taboada and María Ferre by Cursoriam for the rental of road bikes from Navas de Riofrío.
They were selected as the four best innovative projects located in the geographical area of ​​South Segovia, and for this reason they received a cash prize of 1,000 euros each, as well as participation in training together with the other awarded initiatives. throughout Spain., a total of 130 companies.

In addition, CaixaBank has given selected projects the opportunity to join a rural incubator in an online training program with RuralTalent to connect them with other rural entrepreneurs and offer them end-to-end online training of up to 35 hours.

The purpose of this competition is to recognize, support and make visible entrepreneurial people and companies in the territory with distinctive innovative projects that, in turn, create jobs and contribute to the consolidation of the population in rural areas. As for the Tierra de Oportunidades program, its objective is to promote job creation, entrepreneurship and population creation in rural areas, thus providing a solution to the demographic problem of a country where more than 80% of the 8,131 municipalities have less than 5,000 inhabitants , and population losses are continuous. The main focus of the program is the rural entrepreneur as a way to activate the rural environment and the protagonist of projects with a future, either to have an idea to launch or to create a new line of business in a small company in the process of growth.

The excitement of an innovative rough idea in Spain

Alvaro Taboada and Maria Ferre are the owners of Cursoriam Bikes

An alternative to buying a road bike is Cursoriam, a bike rental company founded by Alvaro Taboada and Maria Fere, based in Navas de Riafrio.

The company was officially established in March 2023, but the idea was born a few months earlier due to Alvaro’s love for cycling. “I’ve seen cycling all my life, but it wasn’t until we moved to Segovia that I started doing it.” “Often the countryside is very attractive for this, and even more so with these landscapes,” adds Maria Fere, his partner in this two-wheeled journey.

Tabaada notes that a few years ago, several of his friends bought a road bike, which is a big investment, something he couldn’t afford, but he could rent it. “I started an investigation as a customer and it turns out that this service does not exist in Spain.”

The process of renting a bicycle is simple and is carried out at the request of the client: “We give the cyclist the opportunity to choose any bicycle on the market. As soon as we sign the contract, we purchase the bike and put it into operation, sending it anywhere in Spain”, with the only condition that the customer agrees to rent it for a period of two to four years with a monthly fee that also includes maintenance and insurance of the bikes. But even if the obligation ends, the life of the bike will not end, as the customer is offered the option to pay to purchase it, or it will be sold on the used bike market.

Commit to supporting artisanal fisheries

Alexia Lozano is in the process of creating her own herd of goats and producing cheese

Alexia Lozano left her job as a teacher in Madrid to try to preserve two professions that are slowly fading into oblivion: shepherding and making artisanal cheeses.

“It became increasingly clear that learning and stimulation were in the field where you could feel, smell, etc. Then the four walls started to surround me and I decided that I wanted to work with my hands. And so, four years ago, Alexia changed her priorities and began training both as a shepherd and in the production of milk products, such as cheese.

At the moment, the dream of owning a herd of goats is in the works, and it is hoped that this will become possible in the spring. Although in the meantime, she practices what she has learned, which is that she tends a flock of sheep in Espirdo and works in a cheese factory in the municipality. As for profitability, Lozano is clear that “you have to work hard” but that a herd can be profitable if it converts milk. “Many hours pass until you have time to deliver the product to the store. Not only to milk the animal, you need to make cheese today, put it in brine in the afternoon, take it out the next day, turn it over every week…”, but even with all that, Alexia says that it was more difficult for her to go to work in Madrid than to devote time to it. , which she likes. In addition, his project includes a “romantic” side in order to make his work known in an altruistic way.

Persistence to achieve a dream in nature

Ruben Lopez and Marie Sylvester are the owners of “De pino a pino”

The name of this company is very appropriate: From Pine to Pine. And this is the route of those who dare to visit this adventure park located high in the trees of San Rafael.

The project started in 2006, but it became a reality only in the summer of 2023. “We are the forerunners of adventure parks in Spain. We opened the first one in 2004 in Navafria, then we opened another one in Navacerrada and another one in Burgos. In 2006, we tried to install it for the first time in San Rafael, and since then we have been behind the project. Now, thanks to the support of the El Espinar government team, it has become a reality. 50% of the project is our work and enthusiasm, and the other 50% is the mayor’s support,” explains Ruben Lopez.

The adventure park offers activities for people over the age of six in a unique location declared a biosphere reserve. “There are tracks of different heights and different levels of difficulty depending on the age and profile of each person. “You start at about two meters and end up at about twelve, but you always go with a safety system.” In addition, its owners show that the objects do not harm the environment, but on the contrary, the attractions are integrated into the forest. “It will also help to create many tourist synergies, because customers coming from other cities such as Segovia, Madrid or Valladolid will demand restaurant services or other entertainment,” says Marie Sylvester.

The desire to do what you are most passionate about

Monica de Andrés is the owner of Monatabú

Fashion is in the DNA of Monica de Andrés, owner of Monatabú. Having worked as a designer at Inditex, she switched jobs to create her own handmade label designing and manufacturing rag dolls, stuffed animals and accessories for the little ones in the home.

“After ten years of freelancing, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, my head said, ‘That’s it,’ and one day of cleaning, she found boxes and boxes of dolls and blankets that she had made for safe passage in times of maximum stress. “I said that I have to do something about all this, and after a few months of thinking, I decided to create my own store,” he says. A store where every product is a unique item. “There are times when I have leftover fabric I can make two identical packages, but that’s very rare because usually the most important pieces are the unique patterns that I won’t repeat later, like with the dolls. For smaller things like pacifier holders, I make more units.

And this requires a lot of work. “I get up at 7 in the morning and I don’t stop. I take a break to eat and sit again until 9pm. And so every day”, and her task is not only to make dolls, but also to manage orders, produce packaging, update the brand’s social networks and a long list that fills the hours of the day. Despite this, Monica does not throw in the towel and sees the future itself beyond the Spanish border.

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