Our first edition of this new year will be unlike any other we’ve published—in that we’re not publishing it.
In 2022, our solutions journalism-focused media organization started a new tradition of dedicating the first edition of the year to Costa Rica’s small businesses. Calling it Toolkit 2021, we focused it on stories that showcased entrepreneurs. We also used the month’s longform pieces, columns, and Zoom events to take a hard look at some of the institutions and programs that are designed to help entrepreneurs thrive, but that sometimes fall short. We looked at microcredit and training programs, and how they fit into the reality of small business owners—especially in rural areas.
One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs told us about that month was something we related to in a big way: that for many of them, the biggest limit isn’t lack of money, even though that’s hard for all of us. It’s lack of time. Starting a business can be like stepping onto a treadmill that’s already running at warp speed. Once you’re on, you can never seem to get off. Planning and reflection get squeezed into spare moments when it should take center stage. We come to accept it, but it’s a huge limit on growth and sustainability.
So this month, you’ll hear less from us. For Toolkit 2023, instead of producing stories and columns, we’ll be producing our 2023 work plan. Instead of reflecting on national challenges for entrepreneurs, we’ll be reflecting on our own work. We’ll be revisiting the goals that get us out of bed in the morning, and taking a hard look at the way we’re trying to meet them.
We’ll also be looking at how we serve you, our readers and community, and how we could do better. We’ll be studying all your answers to our end-of-year Reader Survey (missed it? You can still fill it out! Here: https://sala506.com/survey). We’ll be having conversations with each other and with potential partners that have been postponed during the weekly grind of the reporting we love.
While we’ll keep most of our focus on this work, we may share some thoughts and reflections throughout the month—with our Annual Members, with our free newsletter subscribers, and even on social media. We may also share some comments from readers who can relate to the idea of a powerful pause. (Have you ever taken a break that paid off? If you’re a business owner, have you found ways to step away from the grind and do some big thinking? If so, we’d love to hear from you.)
We’re so grateful to everyone who’s been a part of our work over the past two years. You’ve made the process of building El Colectivo 506 richer and more interesting than we’d dreamed of. And we look forward to reuniting with you in February for new stories, deep dives, and conversations.
Katherine and Mónica