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:
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.
Better orientation services to entrepreneurs are provided
Diverse role models are promoted and made visible
A self-sustainable investors association operating in Guatemala, training investors and promoting early-stage investment
A startup act is created and presented to the local government