Expanded Partnership Will Help Small Businesses in Latin America Recover from COVID-19 Crisis

The Impulsa tu Empresa 3.0 program will provide support to more than 1,000 entrepreneurs in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Colombia

(Arlington, VA) — As the unfolding COVID-19 crisis batters Latin America’s small businesses, the Argidius Foundation and international nonprofit TechnoServe announced the third iteration of the Impulsa tu Empresa program (ITE 3.0), supporting entrepreneurs in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Colombia. Coming at a critical moment when small businesses are struggling to overcome the economic blows of the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-year program will provide training, advice, and aftercare to enable 1,080 entrepreneurs–half of them women–to navigate the difficult situation and grow their businesses.

Small businesses are important engines of employment and economic opportunity. The International Labor Organization estimates that micro- and small businesses employ 127 million people across Latin America, nearly half of the region’s workforce. But the sector faces significant challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis and the accompanying disruptions to supply chains, operations, and sales, as well as the economic impact of the pandemic. The United Nations has estimated that more than 2 million small businesses across the region are at risk of shutting down.

The ITE 3.0 program, funded through the support of Argidius, will offer a critical lifeline to 1,080 small businesses, helping entrepreneurs gain vital skills, improve their business models, evaluate their need for financing, and access loans. TechnoServe business advisors will provide this support through workshops and advisory sessions, and will also launch a fully virtual version of the program that builds on efforts to provide entrepreneurs remote support during the pandemic. The program will also strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the three countries by bringing together key stakeholders, as well as piloting and publicizing new innovations.

ITE 3.0 represents an expansion from the two previous iterations of the Impulsa tu Empresa program, which helped 1,500 small businesses in Central America earn an additional $51 million in revenue and generate 1,481 new jobs over the past eight years. ITE 3.0 also marks the first time that the program will be implemented in Colombia.

“We think the support provided by Impulsa tu Empresa is more relevant than ever—small enterprises are facing many new challenges due to the profound effects of the COVID-19 crisis. TechnoServe’s previous experience and learnings are now of great benefit, and this new program presents the opportunity to leverage these, adapting them to the current reality to accompany and support SMEs through these difficult times,” said Argidius in a statement.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic threatening small businesses and the jobs and opportunities they represent, it’s critical that we equip entrepreneurs with the tools they need to weather the crisis and set themselves on a path for growth,” said Oscar Artiga, deputy entrepreneurship director at TechnoServe. “That’s why we’re so excited to work with Argidius to scale up our proven methodology and reach more people.”

In addition to the grant from Argidius, the program will raise funds from additional partners to broaden its impact and finance its activities.


About the Argidius Foundation

Argidius aims to help entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses and contribute to the sustainable development of their communities. They do so by improving the effectiveness and reach of small and medium enterprise capacity development services.

About TechnoServe

TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty. A non-profit organization operating in 29 countries, we work with hard-working men and women in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses, and industries. By linking people to information, capital, and markets, we have helped millions to create lasting prosperity for their families and communities.

Founded over 50 years ago, TechnoServe has been named the #1 nonprofit for fighting poverty by the ImpactMatters charity ratings agency.