The World Council of Credit Unions Economic Inclusion Project (EIP) this week celebrated the graduations of more than 500 new entrepreneurs from its School of Dreamers in Peru and Entrepreneur Camp in Ecuador.
In alliance with the Venezuelan Union in Peru and CONQUITO in Ecuador, more than 1,800 people have now graduated from these entrepreneurial training programs in just ten months. The graduates include Venezuelan migrants and refugees, along with local residents of both countries.
Funded by USAID, the EIP is one of the most ambitious entrepreneurial training projects in Peru and Ecuador, with the beneficiaries being its main objective. Graduates say the training has been transformative.
"Being part of the program changed my life. It changed my chip. I learned that financial knowledge is also important because it gives sustainability to entrepreneurship,” said Jairo Calupiña, a Venezuelan living in Quito, Ecuador who graduated from the Entrepreneur Camp.
"The change was radical, I feel fulfilled with my project,” said Wendy Puccini, a Venezuelan in Peru to whom the School of Dreamers offered the comprehensive guidance she needed for her new business venture.
The programs arose from the initiative to incubate and strengthen sustainable ventures based on the adequate and strategic structuring of the value proposition, relationship with the client, and financial management to make them competitive in the market.
“Despite the pandemic, we have been able to move forward, and you are proof that progress can be continued despite many challenges. It is important to emphasize that 71% of entrepreneurs are women, as we seek to reduce gender gaps,” stressed Jerry Marcus, Regional Head of the Venezuela USAID Program, who gave opening remarks at both graduation ceremonies.
The programs allow entrepreneurs to compete for seed capital delivered by the EIP. To date, more than 200 entrepreneurs have accessed this benefit.
“Entrepreneurs have more opportunities with the project, since this achievement is part of what we call the Route of Economic Inclusion, which consists of training and mentoring, building sustainable business plans, and connecting them with the market, seed capital and financial education, so that everyone becomes linked to the financial system,” said Oscar Guzmán, Director of the Economic Inclusion Project.
The representatives of the partner institutions expressed the value of strategic alliances and the generation of these types of programs for their countries.
"Uniting strengths and experiences of the institutions that work to promote entrepreneurship and a better quality of life for people is the only way for the country to have better days," said Javier Albuja, Technical Coordinator of the Economic Promotion Agency of CONQUITO.
Oscar Pérez, President of the Venezuelan Union in Peru, stressed that the Economic Inclusion Project is delivering on its objectives.
“The success of this project is to open paths so that Venezuelans and Peruvians who are part of it can, in one way or another, find that route that will lead them towards an integration process like the one that is taking place at the moment,” said Perez “Without a doubt, the Economic Inclusion Project financed by USAID and executed by the World Council has become the project with the greatest scope and reference in supporting the Venezuelan migrant and refugee population.”