Artists Turn Ugly Satellite Dishes Into Creative Ads for Women-Run Businesses

A Costa Rican television provider helped rural housewives figure out how to turn their hobbies into moneymaking enterprises.
Jun 10, 2015·
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

Purchasing outdoor advertising for a business can cost a pretty penny. So what’s a low-income housewife to do if she wants to let her community know she can make tasty tamales or fashion a fabulous piñata? Look no further than rural Costa Rica, where Latin American telecommunications company Claro is helping women start home-based businesses and hiring artists to turn its rooftop satellite dishes into colorful signs advertising them.

The project, which was developed in conjunction with creative agency Ogilvy & Mather Costa Rica, is designed to foster the entrepreneurial efforts of women in rural parts of the Central American nation. The housewives involved in the initiative might not have seen themselves as entrepreneurs, but they each had a marketable hobby that could be turned into a start-up.

As you can see in the video above, artists paint over the Claro logo, transforming relatively unattractive satellite dishes into vibrant advertisements for the women-run enterprises. The women are selling eggs laid by hens in their yards or chile peppers grown in the garden, and making money from their cooking and hairstyling skills.

So, Why Should You Care? Helping a woman grow her business through advertising can boost the well-being and prosperity of her entire family. While men in the developing world tend to only reinvest 30 to 40 percent of their earnings into the home, women will pour 90 percent of their earnings back into their families. That translates into increased investments in a family’s education, health, and nutrition. It’s no wonder, then, that world leaders at the recent G7 meeting in Germany highlighted women’s empowerment as a global priority.

This show of support of these small, female-run home businesses could go a long way toward inspiring more women in the community to jump into entrepreneurship. According to the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitoring Women’s Report, 126 million women were starting or running businesses in 67 countries around the world.

But “where women believed there were good opportunities for starting businesses, and where they had confidence, ability and spirit for this activity, there were typically higher female entrepreneurship rates,” wrote the GEM authors. As this video shows, the vivid colors and creative designs of these transformed satellite dishes seem to reflect the newly discovered entrepreneurial spark of the women involved in the project.

(Photo: Facebook)