Accelerating the Guatemalan Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

The project fosters the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, actively collaborating with entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Support Organsations (ESOs) and the public sector to develop and move forward tools and interventions that promote collaboration, specialization of ESOs and better access of services and resources for entrepreneurs. The project seeks the capacities of Entreprenruship Support Organisations, entrepreneurs and the private and public sector to co-design and implement interventions to improve the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. 
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Guatemala City, Guatemala
14.6349149
-90.5068824
Project duration
2019 - 2022
Financed by
  • Argidius Foundation

The project

A big percentage of the Guatemalan population lives below the poverty line (59,3%). Additionally, there’s a tremendous gap between the labour force and the offer of formal job opportunities. To generate income, Guatemalans have turned to entrepreneurship. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 79.8% of Guatemalans have a string desire to be an entrepreneur, and around 40% of the local workforce is self-employed.    

This means that, to foster economic development through entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs need access to specialized support and development services and resources to create and grow sustainable businesses. However, the local entrepreneurial support network is predominantly comprised of generalist Entrepreneurship Support Organisations (ESOs), with few examples of specializations, which makes up and downstream collaboration difficult. Entrepreneurs too often find themselves in a land of uncertainty, where they are not ready for later stage programs or investment and cannot find the financial support they require. There is still a pressing need for tools that reinforce the concept that different types of entrepreneurs, in different development stages, require varied types of support, and promote active collaboration between the sectors of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

In response to these challenges, we are supporting bottom-up initiatives to a) make the ecosystem more inclusive and equitable b) strengthen collaboration and specialization among ecosystem actors c) foster an environment where start-ups can flourish.

The project works in four pillars:

  1. Providing a centralized platform that centralizes the tools and resources available for supporting entrepreneurs in the ecosystem according to the type of business they have and the stage of development they are in. Learn more www.startkit.org
  2. Optimizing the entrepreneurial capital market, through education, collaboration between investors and entrepreneurs and network building. More on www.capca.info
  3. Working with the public sector and key actors from the entrepreneurial ecosystem to develop better, more responsive public policies to support entrepreneurship, innovation and investment.
  4. Working with female founders to develop soft skills and promote representative, inclusive role models for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Swisscontact is working closely with local entrepreneurship support organizations, investors, entrepreneurs and the public sector to ensure they can actively collaborate to create a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

Objectives

  1. Capacity Building and Support for ESOs: Building the capacity of local and regional actors, members from Guatemalan ESOs and local companies that work in (and wish to enter) the area of entrepreneurial support as advisors and project enablers
  2. Facilitation of peer-to-peer exchange and mentorship for Female Founders
  3. Handbook for the implementation of Policy Hackathons in Latin America, including strategies and action plans: To ensure a standardized, easy-to-apply approach for a local participative public policy innovation process, it is important to establish guidelines that provide a flexible structure.
  4. Improving the entrepreneurial capital market: To optimize the connection between the right projects and the right investors, it is necessary to promote education, good practices and information sharing in the investment ecosystem.
  5. International exchange of experiences and lessons learned: To guarantee comparability and compatibility of the Guatemalan approach with other existing approaches, international exchange and sharing of lessons learned will be sought.

Partners

  • MINECO (Ministry of economy)
  • Centro Municipal de Emprendimiento
  • Multiverse
  • Universidad del Valle
  • Universidad Franciso Marroquin
  • El Cubo Center
  • Tec
  • Gea Capital

Expected Results

Better orientation services to entrepreneurs are provided

  • Building of an interactive, automated digital infrastructure where at least 1000 entrepreneurs can consult the offer of services and find information on the entrepreneurial ecosystem in an interactive way.
  • Create self-diagnostic tools for entrepreneurs
  • An organization / collective of ESOs continues development at the end of Phase II
  • Up and downstream collaboration between ESOs strengthened, with 5-7 pipeline partnerships established in the ecosystem.  

Diverse role models are promoted and made visible

  • 30+ women are actively participating in the Female Founders Coalition.  
  • 80% of members of Female Founders Coalition are turned into mentors, 60 peer-to-peer mentoring relationship established
  • Local media players create buzz on entrepreneurship through dedicated section
  • Expand “Success has many shapes” campaign to go beyond just woman: Every two weeks, a local entrepreneur covering the different type and sexes is featured

A self-sustainable investors association operating in Guatemala, training investors and promoting early-stage investment

  • Building a sustainable business model for CAPCA (Capital of Central America) with clear benefits for members
  • Investors are trained by their peers trough a facilitated mechanism
  • Promote best practices for early-stage investment (both for entrepreneurs and investors)

A startup act is created and presented to the local government

  • Convening working sessions between MINECO and ecosystem champions through a Policy Hackathon
  • Creating a proposal for local Startup Act and providing technical support for their validation
Generating connections in a workshop
Identifying gaps with ecosystem actors
The Female Founders Coalition
Discussing how to systematise service offerings in the entrepreneurial ecosystem

News

Uganda, Guatemala, Cambodia
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
20.12.2022
Two approaches confirming the value of small initiatives within ecosystem building 
Swisscontact tested a non-traditional approach to Ecosystem Mapping and conducted Give A Day events to build entrepreneurial ecosystems.
Guatemala
Entrepreneurial ecosystems
01.03.2021
Mapping the Guatemalan Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Building a vibrant environment for an ecosystem to thrive can only be achieved by having open conversations about its state and culture. A recent report takes a closer look at the entrepreneurial community in Guatemala in 2020 in an effort to expose the dynamics of the system and provide recommendations for ecosystem players. The data for this analysis is based on workshops, interviews, polls and collaboration programs with over 80 ecosystem support organisations.