The partnership between the Argidius Foundation, Visa Foundation, and TechnoServe will support business growth and employment in the country.
Photo: IFAD/Pablo Corral Vega
The Argidius Foundation, Visa Foundation, and international nonprofit TechnoServe have announced the expansion of the Impulsa tu Empresa (ITE) program into Colombia. Building on nearly a decade of success in Central America, the new iteration of the program—ITE 3.0—will support the growth of 330 Colombian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) over the next two years.
The expansion comes at a time when many SMEs need support to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Small and medium businesses are important drivers of opportunity and employment, but the disruptions, shutdowns, and economic impacts of the past 18 months have created new challenges and obstacles for them. Colombia had its worst economic contraction on record in 2020, and the number of people employed in the country fell by more than 1.4 million.
To help entrepreneurs navigate this difficult situation, grow their businesses, and generate badly needed new jobs, ITE will focus on strengthening entrepreneurs’ business management skills, improving SMEs’ access to markets and finance, and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the country.
Selected businesses will receive training on the most important skills for entrepreneurs, including identifying market opportunities, tracking and using basic financial information, developing business and operations plans, and creating and implementing a human resources strategy. Entrepreneurs may elect to also receive aftercare, in which personalized mentoring will help them to implement their business plans.
This builds upon the experience of Impulsa tu Empresa. Since 2012, TechnoServe has fostered the growth of SMEs in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador through the regional entrepreneurship program. ITE has worked with more than 1,500 SMEs, helping them to generate $51 million of additional sales and create more than 1,600 new jobs.
With ITE 3.0, TechnoServe will partner with Stanford University to evaluate the impact of offering ITE service remotely through a digital platform. This research partnership will allow for a deeper understanding of how remote advisory service can contribute to greater scale and efficiency.
“Over more than a decade, Impulsa tu Empresa has helped to transform thousands of businesses and generate economic opportunity across four countries,” said Silvia Garcia Tellez, regional program manager for TechnoServe. “That’s why we’re so excited to partner with the Argidius Foundation and Visa Foundation to bring this project to Colombia at a moment when there is such an urgent need to help businesses recover and create new, high-quality jobs.”
Irene Garcia, Program Manager at Argidius, said, “As we continue in our journey to learn what effective enterprise development looks like, we have partnered with TechnoServe once more—they have always generated thought-provoking insights in regards to how best support SMEs through capacity building programs. We look forward to the ones that will be generated during this latest round of Impulsa Tu Empresa, as well as seeing the results the program will have for its direct participants.”
Country Manager for Visa in Colombia, Adriana Cárdenas, said, “Visa believes that inclusive economies uplift everyone, everywhere. We celebrate Visa Foundation’s partnership with TechnoServe because supporting and empowering small and micro businesses along with entrepreneurs contributes to the economic recovery in Colombia.”
In addition to Colombia, ITE 3.0 is running concurrently in El Salvador and Guatemala.
We will be launching the first cohort of entrepreneurs in mid October. Interested entrepreneurs can receive more information by contacting our Country Manager, Natalia Reyes [email protected] and/or subscribing directly on our website www.impulsatuempresa.org.
This article was originally published by TechnoServe.