TechnoServe Receives IDB Funding to Launch National Business Plan Competitions in South America

Program to increase opportunities for people at the economic base of the pyramid in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and

AUGUST 7, 2007 —The Inter-American Development Bank's Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) has approved a US$4.4 million grant that will enable TechnoServe to run business plan competitions in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, specifically targeting products and services for the economic base of the pyramid (BOP).

Through its local and global institutional alliances, TechnoServe will raise US$2.8 million in counterpart financing to the initiative.

"There is an urgent need to create opportunity for the majority of the population in Latin America," says Eduardo Almeida, TechnoServe's Vice President and Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. "The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and TechnoServe know that innovative and sustainable private-sector interventions can spur economic growth and thus reduce poverty. This initiative will allow us to help the country's entrepreneurs to turn good ideas into thriving, growth-oriented businesses that generate jobs and markets while also increasing the supply of high-quality, affordable goods and services."

TechnoServe has organized business plan competitions since 2002, designed and implemented with local partners in Central America and Africa. The methodology to be utilized in this new program covers the entire cycle of business and entrepreneurship development and is structured in three phases: preparation and design, competitions (including capture of business ideas, training and business plan preparation, and selection and reward) and technical assistance to winning business plans to support launch and implementation. However, different from the previous business plan competitions organized by TechnoServe, the business plan competitions envisioned within this program will be focused on market opportunities in the BOP segment.

The program reflects the principles of Opportunities for the Majority, an IDB initiative that seeks to expand access to tools, goods and services for those people that live in the economic base of the pyramid that can help them accumulate assets and improve their living standards. "With this project, some 3,600 people will obtain new employment opportunities and thousands more are expected to gain access to goods and services within the base of the pyramid market," explained MIF team leader Daniel Shepherd.

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe helps entrepreneurial men and women in the developing world to build businesses that provide jobs, income and economic opportunity. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or improve more than 2,000 businesses, benefiting millions of people in 32 countries. TechnoServe has been recognized as one of the world's "Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs" by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

About the MIF: MIF is an autonomous fund administered by the IDB. It supports private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean, focusing on microenterprise and small business. More information can be found at http://www.iadb.org/mif.