New Accelerator Program to Boost Latin American AgriFoodTech Start-ups and Small Food Processing Businesses

The Potencia tu Agroempresa project will support the private sector in enhancing food security in the region

Barranquilla, Colombia (June 7, 2024) – International nonprofit TechnoServe has launched the first phase of the Potencia tu Agroempresa project to support food and agriculture businesses in Colombia and Guatemala. This initiative builds on the successful model of the Impulsa Tu Empresa (ITE) program. It is supported by the Argidius Foundation, the Barranquilla Chamber of Commerce, and the Santo Domingo Foundation

Recognizing the urgent need to boost food production and economic resilience in Latin America, the Potencia tu Agroempresa (PTA) program will help these businesses build local food systems that support food security, job creation, and environmental sustainability. It will do this by providing access to technological tools tailored to address regional and local challenges like the high cost of technology adoption, lack of technical expertise and training, limited availability of credit and investment opportunities and the difficulty in reaching larger markets and expanding their customer base, among others. 

“It is very important for us to continue contributing to the region’s economic development through a business-strengthening methodology that allows companies to create profitable and sustainable growth plans,” said Catalina Pallares, Country Manager of Potencia tu Agroempresa. “This new agrifood focus will allow us to concentrate on a strategic sector indispensable for the country’s growth.”

The program aims to boost the revenues of three hundred participating businesses by up to 50%, fostering financial stability and growth within the sector. It is expected to create or strengthen over 800 jobs, significantly contributing to local employment opportunities. Gender inclusion is a core focus, with 50% of the supported businesses owned or operated by women, who will receive tailored training to address their unique challenges and needs. 

By enhancing business practices and promoting the adoption of sustainable technologies, PTA seeks to drive inclusive economic growth and reduce environmental degradation, ensuring long-term benefits for both the economy and the environment.

PTA will kick off in Colombia and Guatemala with a two-year business accelerator, following its implementation in Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. It offers a dual track: one for food processors, which adapts TechnoServe’s core curriculum to the food processing sector’s needs, focusing on increasing business efficiency and productivity. 

The second track is focused on supporting AgriFoodTech start-ups, which builds on a pilot program with The Yield Lab, helping these companies to commercialize and scale technologies to benefit farmers and mitigate climate impacts.

The program will include:

  • Core business and financial management training
  • Access to finance and capital
  • Sector-specific support: Addressing challenges such as sourcing, supply chain coordination, and inventory management
  • Empowerment and leadership training for women entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs will receive seven months of business training on strategic topics through group workshops and personalized mentoring for creating relevant and differentiating business models, enhancing value propositions for customers, making financial decisions, tactics for communicating and capturing value through marketing and sales, and innovation for growth. 

Latin America’s agricultural sector is crucial for the region’s economic growth, food security, and environmental sustainability. Currently, 16% of the world’s total agricultural and food exports come from this region. It is estimated that agricultural production will need to grow by 80% by 2050 to meet an expected population increase of more than 35%. To further add to the challenge, the sector will need to do this while navigating the impacts of climate change and reducing its own carbon emissions.

PTA will build on 12 years of experience working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the Impulsa Tu Empresa (ITE) program in Latin America, integrating lessons learned from conducting business management skills training, building marketing linkages, and enabling investment for SME growth. TechnoServe also brings its expertise from training over 1,000 food processing companies globally. Over the next two years, PTA will support 170 food processing businesses and 130 AgriFoodTech start-ups, leveraging this extensive experience to drive growth and innovation in the sector.


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About TechnoServe

Founded in 1968, TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty for good. A non-profit organization working in around 35 countries, we work with people to build a better future through regenerative farms, businesses, and markets that increase incomes. Our vision is a sustainable world where all people in low-income communities have the opportunity to prosper.

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