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Awards

The Pathways to Prosperity Innovation Challenge sought to discover local, high-impact initiatives in Latin America that help SMEs grow and succeed and we heard from hundreds of you across the region working to addresses market access for SMEs, support for SMEs to meet trade standards, workers' rights, or support for SMEs to adopt clean technology. Please join us in congratulating the finalists and awardees.


AWARDEES

Mobile Cocoa: Technology to Improve Farmers Lives

Lutheran World Relief
Nicaragua

Cocoa farmers are challenged in accessing commercial markets, which require improved techniques in both business and farming. Mobile Cocoa builds a network of diverse stakeholders, across multiple sectors, which offer opportunities for farmers to improve their understanding of production and international markets, while also connecting them to resources.

CompiteMAS Internacional

Core Curauma Biotechnology, Catholic University of Valparaíso
Chile

There is an increasing market and demand for sustainable products. SMEs in Latin America face difficulties in the development and maintenance of indicators to measure their sustainability. The problem prevents these SMEs from being eligible for certification, generating sustainability reports, displaying their good environmental performance, and accessing financing.

NBC-PUCV, developed in Chile, is a platform that provides SMEs tools that help them to make decisions about technology and sustainability practices. It also provides tools to measure and monitor their productivity, environmental and social impact.

INTEGRAL MEASUREMENT SYSTEM AND PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMEs SIMAPRO)

ICAM GROUP (Advanced Computing and Computer Mexico, SC)
Mexico

Labor productivity in Latin America and the Caribbean has remained stagnant since the 1980s. SMEs in Mexico face large productivity gaps in comparison to those in other industrialized countries (World Bank, 2013). MSMEs in Mexico represent 99.8% of economic units, generating 52% of GDP and 72% of employment. With a rate of informality of 63.3% in 2013, this means that 77% of all those employed in SMEs are in the informal market. Low productivity generates poor working conditions, and these in turn result in low productivity, creating a vicious circle that must change.

SIMAPRO PYME's intervention process focuses on implementing the model and generating the skills required for their sustainability and autonomy. The SIMAPRO consultant is a facilitator who creates an environment suitable for communication between workers and employers in the SME sector, generating awareness on both sides for the construction of social dialogue.

Capilla Malla Inocua

Vista Volcanes, S.A.
Guatemala

Tropical climates, such as Guatemala, suffer from widespread insect infestations, resulting in severe damage to local plants and crops. To combat such loss, there is an excessive use of insecticides, causing low crop yields, poor quality product and expansive pollution.

Volcano Vista SA offers a solution that will change the use of insecticides to protect crop development and create a network of sustainable, small entrepreneurs with the tools to protect their business in the short-term, and grow it in the long-term. The technical packages, researched and developed to protect the country’s horticulture, are low risk, effective and easy to implement.




Empowering Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

AWARDEE

Mobile Cocoa: Technology to Improve Farmers Lives

Lutheran World Relief
Nicaragua

Cocoa farmers are challenged in accessing commercial markets, which require improved techniques in both business and farming. Mobile Cocoa builds a network of diverse stakeholders, across multiple sectors, which offer opportunities for farmers to improve their understanding of production and international markets, while also connecting them to resources.

FINALISTS

Funding Platform

Crowdfunder México
Mexico

Crowdfunder finds that SMEs in Latin America have access to less than 1% of private capital, impeding growth in areas such as job creation, economic development, and innovation. By connecting small business entrepreneurs with local and global investors, business and portfolio advisement, and legal guidance they offer a one-stop-shop for small businesses to access new markets.

CrowdFunders has previously supported SMEs in Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Colombia with $5M USD. Their very own pitch: “We are the only platform in the world that is solving the problem of access to capital for entrepreneurs, using scalable digital technology tested to adhere to the laws of relevant countries and as a model for international expansion to make more capital available to entrepreneurs through resolving regional regulations and market laws."

Network Program 4-C

Technology Center for Quality Assurance (CTAC)
Chile

Programa Redes 4-C seeks to expand access to wireless networks in rural areas. Currently, the lack of access prevents rural communities from accessing information and prohibits the development of new ventures.

Its model promotes community participation among mayors, teachers and schools, small producers, and local leaders in the implementation and utilization of wireless networks.




Facilitating Trade and Regional Competitiveness

AWARDEE

CompiteMAS Internacional

Core Curauma Biotechnology, Catholic University of Valparaíso
Chile

There is an increasing market and demand for sustainable products. SMEs in Latin America face difficulties in the development and maintenance of indicators to measure their sustainability. The problem prevents these SMEs from being eligible for certification, generating sustainability reports, displaying their good environmental performance, and accessing financing.

NBC-PUCV, developed in Chile, is a platform that provides SMEs tools that help them to make decisions about technology and sustainability practices. It also provides tools to measure and monitor their productivity, environmental and social impact.

FINALISTS

Cluster Development - Climate Smart Approach

Fundación REDDOM
Dominican Republic

Small agri-businesses in the Dominican Republic face new challenges as they struggle to survive, compete and grow in an open market economy. Farmers are required to comply with new domestic and international regulations regarding food safety as well as meet minimum quantities to reach exportable volumes attractive enough for buyers. Traditional growers’ organizations are more focused on demanding Government’s assistance in Dominican Republic rather than on establishing market-oriented alliances with vendors and buyers to improve competitiveness.

Fundación REDDOM’s approach is to help SMEs access specialized markets, while complying with trade and environmental regulations. They work to develop inclusive markets by facilitating the integration of large numbers of SMEs into competitive value chains. By establishing alliances among value chain stakeholders, SMEs can develop reliable, high quality, and climate resilient supply chain management systems. This enables agricultural SMEs to invest in suitable technology, improve management and market skills, apply environmentally friendly techniques, and ultimately compete in niche markets.

Implementation of integrated management systems as a strategy to reduce costs, increase competitiveness and access to international markets in food chains SMEs.

National Council of Private Enterprise (CoNEP). Business leaders of Panama.
Panama

Increasing regulations and required certifications from agri-SMEs makes it difficult to access new markets. These certifications are expensive, complex to understand, and cover a multitude of regulations on the environment, safety and occupational health, social responsibility and child labor. By integrating these regulations across the supply chain, the regulations are easier and cheaper to adopt.

The National Council of Private Enterprise (CoNEP)’s solution provides training and opportunities to connect with stakeholders across the supply chain. Together, they implement these regulations and certifications in the supply chain. Partners work together to meet the requirements and terms of the regulations, and subsequently carry the cost of the certification collectively. This partnership also raises collective competitiveness and facilitates access to new markets.




Developing a Modern Workforce

AWARDEE

INTEGRAL MEASUREMENT SYSTEM AND PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENT FOR SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (SMEs SIMAPRO)

ICAM GROUP (Advanced Computing and Computer Mexico, SC)
Mexico

Labor productivity in Latin America and the Caribbean has remained stagnant since the 1980s. SMEs in Mexico face large productivity gaps in comparison to those in other industrialized countries (World Bank, 2013). MSMEs in Mexico represent 99.8% of economic units, generating 52% of GDP and 72% of employment. With a rate of informality of 63.3% in 2013, this means that 77% of all those employed in SMEs are in the informal market. Low productivity generates poor working conditions, and these in turn result in low productivity, creating a vicious circle that must change.

SIMAPRO PYME's intervention process focuses on implementing the model and generating the skills required for their sustainability and autonomy. The SIMAPRO consultant is a facilitator who creates an environment suitable for communication between workers and employers in the SME sector, generating awareness on both sides for the construction of social dialogue.

FINALISTS

TANDEM (Talent for Innovation, Development and Entrepreneurship)

Corporation Sonos Más
Colombia

In Colombia, SMEs generate 63% of employment and contribute 37% to GDP. 6 out of 10 young people are employed in the informal economy, which often translates into poor working conditions, little protection or rights, low wages and low productivity. Overlay the 2 statistics and therein lies the opportunity.

Corporación Somos Más provides youth with the knowledge and tools necessary to launch and create youth-led SMEs through the use of ICTs. The focus is to strengthen TANDEM networks, which strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem around youth. Teams of youth entrepreneurs are brought together to develop innovative solutions for economic, productive, social, cultural and environmental sectors. These entrepreneur teams are then linked up with secure modern equipment to result in a competitive but aspirational culture among youth and a vibrant path to developing youth-led SMEs.

Formalized to Grow

National Superintendent of Labor Supervisors - SUNAFIL
Peru

In Peru, more than 60% of 5.6 million salaried workers in the private sector lack social security funded by their employers. Additionally, more than half of the informal workers are employed by formal enterprises, of which 90% are SMEs. With such a large portion of the informal worker population employed by formal businesses, the existing solutions have focused on monitoring of social and labor standards (NSL) compliance without establishing the necessary performance indicators or impact.

This voluntary compliance has not been working. SUNAFIL’s solution is to augment existing voluntary programs with a more comprehensive solution to the problem of informal employment in small and medium enterprises. SUNAFIL added a plan which provided self-assessment tools and integrated them with technical assistance services offered by institutions promoting small and medium enterprise. These components that support and train workers have encouraged employers to formalize their workers in order to increase labor productivity, which in turn benefited workers.




Sustainable Business Practices and Environmental Cooperation

AWARDEE

Capilla Malla Inocua

Vista Volcanes, S.A.
Guatemala

Tropical climates, such as Guatemala, suffer from widespread insect infestations, resulting in severe damage to local plants and crops. To combat such loss, there is an excessive use of insecticides, causing low crop yields, poor quality product and expansive pollution.

Volcano Vista SA offers a solution that will change the use of insecticides to protect crop development and create a network of sustainable, small entrepreneurs with the tools to protect their business in the short-term, and grow it in the long-term. The technical packages, researched and developed to protect the country’s horticulture, are low risk, effective and easy to implement.


FINALISTS

Biological Treatment of Wastewater with Worms

AcuaCare
Colombia

Over half of all municipalities in Colombia lack a plan to handle wastewater safely, causing widespread water contamination across the country. Despite the growing number of regulations designed to protect water sources, there is a lack of affordable and accessible technology solutions for effective water treatment. AcuaCare provides an innovative, low-cost solution to treat water.

AcuaCare uses earthworms and microorganisms to transform water pollution into organic fertilizer to be reused in irrigation. With low operating costs and minimal energy consumption (saving 70 and 80 percent, respectively, as compared to traditional technologies of similar capacity), AquaCare is inexpensive to install and 100% environmentally friendly. The technology was awarded first place in the 2011 Clean Tech Open in Silicon Valley and was selected by Georgetown University as an organization positively impacting Latin America.

Biorefinery Sisvita

Sisvita Biotechnologies SAS
Colombia

America produces 92% of the world’s bioethanol: 88 billion liters, and the waste generated are a trillion gallons of vinasse - the slop that remains post-distillation. The US and Brazil are the major producers with over a thousand bioethanol plants each.

The current mainstream solution is to compost the vinasse, which results in a number of negative externalities, such as the contamination of water sources and is only feasible at certain scales. The Sisvita Technologies’ solution is to create a set of products from the byproduct that can be applicable at any scale of production. It exploits the vinasse and other residues, which it enriches and dehydrates without traditional energy consumption, achieving a number of products that yield high utility in terms of value and exchange, even allowing their use as raw material for the further distillation of bioethanol. These products are SISBIOHENO which can produce 2nd generation bioethanol, and SISBIOMIEL, a molasses-like product made from vinasse which allows a 3rd generation bioethanol. It can also be converted into a fertilizer for plants.

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