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MIF and Acción Emprendedora partner to support low-income Chilean youth in their entrepreneurial dreams

Apr 9, 2015

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, recently approved a US$990,000 grant for a project that will be implemented by Acción Emprendedora (Entrepreneurial Action), a Chilean nongovernmental organization with more than 12 years of experience in entrepreneurship, training and incubation. The project will seek to support 2,500 low-income youth in eight cities in Chile in starting and growing successful enterprises that will enable them to generate better opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities. To achieve this, the project will generate models for training and serving entrepreneurs through an e-learning platform with tools designed specifically for youth who have limited technical skills, i.e. who have not completed or are not enrolled in university studies.

The problem facing low-income youth in Chile is a lack of motivation stemming from their disadvantages and lack of access to support opportunities. Some do receive technical training, but this training is often deficient and lacks nationwide coverage. The little youth entrepreneurship existing in Chile is mostly born of necessity, but is not viewed as an opportunity for personal and professional development.  People between the ages of 16 to 24 make up only 2% to 3% of all entrepreneurs, and only 12% of young people have applied to an entrepreneurship program. This disparity is due in part to the fact that very few organizations are available to support young entrepreneurs in developing their ideas and providing them with the tools and assistance they need to pursue their businesses. When such organizations do exist, they are part of university programs, which exclude the most vulnerable. Despite these disparities, e-learning platforms have great potential to promote skills training for self-employment and entrepreneurship on a large scale.  The 2011 CASEN Seventh Youth Survey projected that 72% of all Chilean households would have at least one computer by 2013.

The approved project includes the development of an e-learning platform that will allow young people to select from among three training and support options: in-person, online, or a hybrid of both. In addition to the online platform, the project will provide access to Acción Emprendedora’s entrepreneurship centers, where information and training will be provided. Youth participants will be selected through calls for proposals by the municipalities’ productive development units. Once the young people are selected, the entrepreneurship training will begin. The training includes support at each stage of enterprise development. In parallel to the training, the entrepreneurs may benefit from one or more consulting services to resolve specific needs related to management issues, planning, corporate image, entry into the formal economy, and search for customers. Upon completion of the training, the young people will have access to mentoring services. Finally, Acción Emprendedora will support youth in obtaining financing through existing search tools such as crowdfunding platforms, applications for government funding, and bank loans.

This project in Chile is the second project of the Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP), implemented by the MIF and Youth Business International (YBI), which seeks to enhance the business capacities of low-income youth by expanding access to quality services, thereby laying the groundwork for a stronger ecosystem for youth entrepreneurship in the region.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, supports private sector-led development benefiting low-income populations and the poor—their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory—experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks to build and support successful micro, small and medium business models. More information can be found at www.fomin.org.

About Acción Emprendedora

Acción Emprendedora is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 with a presence in eight cities throughout Chile. Its mission is to serve entrepreneurs and microenterprises using a comprehensive working model and to develop well-rounded owners of established small businesses with the capacity to grow, create jobs, and improve the living standards of their families. In the past two years, Acción Emprendedora has supported more than 3,000 entrepreneurs per year in developing their business ideas and strengthening their businesses through its seven entrepreneurship centers. The role of its central office is to support the work of the entrepreneurship centers in the various regions and the development of new methodologies and partnerships at the national level. It provides support in four areas: “Acción Educa,” “Acción País,” “Acción Incuba,” and “Acción Pública.” More information at www.accionemprendedora.org
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