Peru: Visiting Businesses in the Andes

in Peru

In May 2008, Rick and Wendy visited Peru—their third time—on a business trip for TechnoServe.  Prior trips to Peru had included both pleasure–mainly visiting Lima and Machu Picchu–and a volunteer work project for Rick.  This was part of their visit to five countries in two weeks to observe some of TechnoServe’s projects in Peru, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.  Rick was developing a project management methodology for TechnoServe so wanted to ensure that his ideas from his experience in Africa would also be relevant in Latin America.  After spending less than 12 hours in Lima—for dinner and brief sleep–they flew at about 6:00 a.m. to Cajamarca in the Andes.  The Walleighs visited three TechnoServe clients in Cajamarca, San Marcos and in a nearby village (though two-hour drive).  On the way and between meetings, Rick and Wendy enjoyed seeing the mountainous countryside, the varying towns and villages, and of course, the people.

The TechnoServe clients were all part of an entrepreneurship program operated from 2003 to 2005 and again 2006 to 2008, to

help Micro- and Small-Enterprises expand revenues, employment, and potential in order to impact poor and rural Cajamarca Province’s economy.  Yanacocha Mining Company, a large corporation mining gold and silver, is located near the city of Cajamarca.  The workers and communities who contribute to the mine’s significant growth had not seen parallel improvements in their lives.  Anticipating that these precious metals may continue to be successfully mined until 2028 or even 2035 AND recognizing their responsibility to the surrounding region, Yanacocha Mining established a separate “corporate social responsibility” organization. Its goal was to source as many supplies from local vendors as possible as well as raise these vendors’ skills and products to meet the mining company’s high standards. With two other major donors, this separate organization underwrote TechnoServe Peru’s Small Enterprise project, which every 6 months identified, assessed, and built the capacity of approximately ten qualified entrepreneurs in business/marketing, production/technical skills, and finance/accounting.

Recruiting Entrepreneurs

Through regional media and civic partners’ (e.g., Chamber of Commerce) promotions, potential TechnoServe-Peru clients self-identified, completed application forms, and were rigorously reviewed and interviewed to qualify for classroom and individual technical, production and business training. Finalists paid a “commitment fee” to show their willingness to invest in their own businesses, as well as signed contracts. TNS advisors then worked with the entrepreneurs for about 30 days gathering detail data about the business then developed a complete work plan which the entrepreneurs were required to sign.

Capacity Building

Groups of approximately ten TechnoServe participants received common business training during the next six months as well as individualized capacity-building in their specialty (e.g., livestock).  TechnoServe’s assigned consultants[1] frequently met with clients, assessed progress vs. work plan (milestones were required to be met), trained on various skills, and provided other kinds of support. By the end of the 6 months, the entrepreneur and the TechnoServe consultant jointly developed a business plan as a guide for the enterprise’s future which was a tool to obtain financial resources and a means to measure key growth indicators (e.g., sales, profits, number of employees).

General Results

TechnoServe Advisors supervised the entrepreneurship program’s clients for 3 years after program completion to ensure long-term success. Also TechnoServe Peru offered a “guarantee fund” to reduce the loan risk for loan institutions. In turn, each TechnoServe alumni business was to have employed/impacted from ten to twenty suppliers or farmers whose increased family incomes would improve access to education, healthcare, and other services. TechnoServe helped improve all these local vendors’ capacities and revenues as well as connected them to more customers locally, across Peru, and even globally. For example among 22 program alumni, nine became official suppliers to Yanacocha Mining and two were exporting internationally.  Since 2003 TechnoServe Peru improved the livelihoods of nearly 180 entrepreneurs and 1,800 farmers in the Cajamarca region all of whom benefit from the mine’s success.


[1] Additionally, clients provide TNS with regular feedback on their assigned consultants to ensure their needs are successfully met.

 

 

Rick was developing a project management methodology for TechnoServe and wanted to make sure his ideas from experience in Africa would also be relevant in Latin America.

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