TechnoServe Launches Program to Boost Development of Central American and African Businesses
Some 560 small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to develop their businesses through a new entrepreneurship development program, “Impulsa Tu Empresa (Boost Your Business), that TechnoServe plans to implement in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Burkina Faso in Africa.
The program, supported by the Argidius Foundation, is designed to give mentoring and business training for entrepreneurs. It will also include a business plan competition for new ideas and existing businesses. The program aims to assist businesses with annual sales between $500,000 and $2 million, particularly those that make products with added value as well as service businesses principally located in urban areas.
One of the objectives of the program is to support business ideas with high growth potential. The goal is to find businesses that can turn themselves into solid, stable, transparent, innovative enterprises capable of attracting investment for expansion.
Oscar Artiga, regional director for the program, said that the entrepreneurs selected to work with TechnoServe will receive direct advice from specialists who will support them in creating growth plans for their businesses. Other benefits of the program include helping the entrepreneurs find financing. Additionally, their performance will be monitored and business networks will be created with the assistance of the program. This will help these businesses improve their access to markets, broaden their sources of funding and develop marketing, accounting and cost strategies.
Artiga said the program is seeking corporate partners to support the growth of businesses with high potential.
(Pictured right: An entrepreneur training session in Honduras as part of a previous TechnoServe business plan competition)
“The role of private enterprise in this process is crucial, because it is business leaders that will work closely with the entrepreneurs, mentoring them, sharing knowledge, counseling them and helping them be more competitive,” Artiga said.
In two years, the TechnoServe program seeks to create some $13 million in sales among the assisted businesses and contribute to the creation of 700 new jobs.
On the international level, TechnoServe has developed dozens of entrepreneurship programs that have helped create or expand businesses. Currently the organization has entrepreneurship programs across South America, Africa and Haiti.