It all started in 2016 as a project for their major in international trade and business at the National University. Today, it’s a 100% Guanacaste startup, about to become a formal business.
Stacy Briones, Jeramel Boza and José López are the students and entrepreneurs behind Chilera La Nicoyana.
They describe the product as “the magic of Nicoya in a jar” and they have several reasons to believe it.
For one thing, all the ingredients that make up the chile jar, except for the jar itself, come from local producers. The jar contains white vinegar, green mango, zanahoria, red onion, cucumber and, of course, “bird beak” chili pepper.
“The chili and the mango, we get them from our ver homes. They are products that are there, but that we often don’t know what to do with,” Boza said.
The label of the product also explains that magic. The entrepreneurs decided to use the image of a colonial church as their badge so people can easily identify where the product comes from.
According to Briones, saying that the product comes from one of the world’s blue zones is a benefit that highlights the excellence of the chili jar.
“You don’t value the real importance of that distinction. Saying that it comes from here opens doors,” he says.
Doña Aidé, 65, completes the formula. She is the one who prepares each chili jar and she gives the green light before each jar is placed on sale and contributes “the mom seasoning.”
Miss Aidé assures us that she has been a chef her “whole live” and that “alongside the kids” she sees a way to triumph in what she knows best: cooking.
Little by Little
Chilera La Nicoyana is in the process of formalizing its business, which includes registering the brand and finding a permanent place to prepare the jors. Today, they work out of two different locales, one where they prepare the food and another where they jar it.
Alongside the foreign trade promotion office Procomer and the Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Trade (MEIC) the three entrepreneurs hope to enter the big leagues as a formal company.
“In March we are going to participate in the next Procomer project that seeks out startups to help them in the process of formalizing the business (Seedstarters Costa Rica by Procomer), Jeramel says. But despite whether or not we win, we are already working on the whole business plan in order to take the next step.”
While that happens, the entrepreneurs continue working on the production of more than 20 craft chili jars per month and on attending to custom orders.
- Where to find it: At the end of each month in the Nicoa market and the El Almendro grocery store in Chorotega neighborhood.
- The good: You can place custom orders
- The bad: They don’t always have them available
- Price: ¢1,200 ($2.15) in bag and ¢1,600 ($2.85) in glass.
- Order: Place them on Facebook at the Chileras La Nicoyana profile page or call 8582-8388.