Accélérer l'écosystème entrepreneurial guatémaltèque (en anglais)

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. 
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Durée du projet
2019 - 2022
Financé par
  • 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 specialised 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 specialisation among ecosystem actors c) foster an environment where start-ups can flourish.

The project works in four pillars:

  1. Providing a platform that centralises 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
  2. Optimizing the entrepreneurial capital market, through education, collaboration between investors and entrepreneurs and network building. More on
  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 organisations, investors, entrepreneurs and the public sector to ensure they can actively collaborate to create a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem.  


  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 optimise 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.


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


The project succeeded in facilitating more and better collaboration among ecosystem actors because of trust building, which translated in programmes co-organised by ESOs, joint trainings, events, and products such as the Startup Act. 

Additionally, entrepreneurs reported that Startkit helped them find the tools and services they required, which according to ESOs, increased the outreach of their programmes and the success rate of entrepreneurs that signed up for their services. More and more, ESOs talk about specialised programmes, centered on the founders and their specific businesses. 

Interventions as the Policy Hackathon enabled pathways to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the government, but there is still much to be done in terms of technical assistance for the public sector to grant them a better response capacity towards the challenges of entrepreneurs, investors, and support ecosystem actors.

The investment ecosystem is slowly opening to impact investing, and venture capitalists are exploring joint processes with multilateral organizations and cooperation agencies.  

Women are more represented, and more resources are being allocated on programnmes that prioritise female founders creating growth-oriented companies, which is a relatively new conversation in the ecosystem. However, it is still necessary to create better pathway to include women in male dominated industries.

The project achieved several important milestones:  

  • $250,000 on funding facilitated for Guatemalan startups through the work of CAPCA. CAPCA was connected with the Venture Capital associations of Latin America.
  • The first Policy Hackathon on the Central American region was executed successfully (and replicated in Honduras), opening the door for more active collaboration with the public sector in the future.  
  • International venture capital firms established long term relationships and partnerships with local funds after meeting in one of CAPCA monthly meetings.  
  • International funds established paths for collaboration and co-investment as a direct result of their participation in the Volcano Summit.
  • 12 people were trained on the basics of venture capital for investment in a public incubator.  
  • A partnership to educate angel investors on a rolling basis was established between CAPCA and Universidad Francisco Marroquin.
  • Over 3000 users accessed the Startkit platform, actively recommending the tools developed.  
  • Over 60 mentorship relationships were established between female founders, promoting a more inclusive, equitable ecosystem.
Generating connections in a workshop
Identifying gaps with ecosystem actors
The Female Founders Coalition
Discussing how to systematise service offerings in the entrepreneurial ecosystem