La Red de Pathways Challenge Selects 8 Awardees to Scale Innovative Solutions to Support Small Businesses in Latin America

La Red de Pathways Challenge Selects 8 Awardees to Scale Innovative Solutions to Support Small Businesses in Latin America

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.@LaRedPathways awards $640k to 8 innovative #SME solutions in #latinamerica
Monday, August 8, 2016 - 12:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Capacity Building

CONTENT: Press Release

August 8, 2016 /3BL Media/ - The World Environment Center (WEC) is pleased to announce the awarding of approximately $640,000 to eight of the most innovative solutions to sustainably growing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America.  The awardees were selected from a network of 30 such solutions that, together, make up the regional La Red de Pathways (La Red). These 30 innovative businesses were chosen in 2015 from amongst 500 submissions to an international competition, the Pathways Innovation Challenge. WEC and its partners engaged with the 30 network members to provide technical assistance to create innovation throughout the region with these organizations and their stakeholders. The eight awardees will be provided approximately $80,000 each to further accelerate business development and promote sustainable economic growth in Latin America. 

The U.S. Department of State provided Economic Support Funds (ESF) to WEC and its partners, Le Groupe-conseil baastel ltée (Baastel), Context Partners, and Earthshift, through a grant to select and bring to scale winning, local solutions identified through the Pathways Innovation Challenge. The eight sub-grants, along with the other La Red members throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, are supported to maintain, strengthen and grow their innovations. For further information about La Red de Pathways Challenge, please visit

The 8 La Red Awardees are:

AcuaCare implements biological solutions for treating wastewater and sludge from wastewater treatment plants using microorganisms. Contaminants are transformed into biofertilizers and byproducts can be used for agriculture. The AcuaCare method reduces treatment cost by up to 70% and energy consumption by up to 80% when compared to traditional technologies.  This sub-grant will allow AcuaCare to develop and provide workshops and technical assistance for SMEs on sustainable practices and biological wastewater treatment. is a global network that fosters sustainable tourism development for communities and travelers. Travolution supports rural entrepreneurs to coordinate and develop generate local tourism models that respect cultural, social, and natural heritage while also increasing business and incomes for rural SMEs in Chile. Through this sub-grant, Travolution will develop the first Latin-American Community-Based tourism summit in Bogotá, Colombia.  

Comunidades de la Tierra’s Empresas Wakami program provides business incubation, managerial and technical training, and access to an export value chain for women entrepreneurs in rural Guatemala. The Empresas Wakami program is conducted through its social company Kiej de los Bosques, which sells the Wakami brand of fashion accessories in over 24 countries, hand-made by women artisans from rural communities and exported internationally. With this sub-grant, Comunidades de la Tierra expects to expand its Wakami rural businesses to contribute to a greater social and economic performance.

The Consejo Nacional de la Empresa Privada de Panamá (CONEP) in a partnership with the Centro Nacional de Producción Más Limpia de Panamá (CNP+L-Panama), provides technical support on Integrated Management System (IMS) implementation process that is focused on reducing costs as well as environmental and social risks while increasing competitiveness in SMEs. Through this sub-grant, CONEP will provide tools and evaluation techniques to 10 SMEs. Two other members of La Red de Pathways (Núcleo de Biotecnología de Curauma and ICAM) are collaborating with CONEP/CNP+L on this award.

Las Páginas Verdes (LPV) promotes sustainable consumption as an alternative to environmental care in Latin America by creating and disseminating web directories of sustainable SMEs to publicize products and services, increasing visibility and sales by connecting to buyers, vendors, and end consumers in Mexico and Colombia. LPV has also hosted more than 150,000 attendees and 250 exhibitors at the Mexican ECOFEST, a festival for sustainable producers and interested customers. As a result of this sub-grant, LPV will develop and implement workshops to train SMEs that support communities of green consumers.

Techstars’ Startup Weekend Latam office supports early stage entrepreneurs through experiential learning programs in a risk-free environment at an accelerated pace. With the goal of increasing the number of entrepreneurial communities in Latin America, these programs allow entrepreneurs to test their knowledge, develop their own skills, and partner with others to create innovative proposals with a global vision. The network has grown to over 500 volunteer community leaders and 1,200 mentors in 23 countries throughout Latin America. With the funding provided, Startup Weekend will organize and implement the LATAM SUMMIT 2016 Startup Weekend México.  

Cámara de Comercio de Bucaramanga’s Mujeres ECCO program – Colombian Entrepreneurs for Competitiveness, developed in partnership with the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB), supports the creation and strengthening of female entrepreneurs. In Colombia and Peru this program has so far supported 247 new women-led companies that have generated 1,382 jobs.  With this sub-grant, CCB will work in partnership with another member of La Red, Incubatec UFRO from Temuco-Chile, to transfer Incubatec’s methodology to Mujeres ECCO to further support and accelerate these entrepreneurs.

The Centro de Producción Más Limpia Nicaragua supports Nicaraguan SMEs through technical assistance in cleaner production practices, and by linking technology and financing opportunities for businesses. The Producción Más Limpia model, with this sub-grant, will support 20 agroindustry and manufacturing SMEs in Nicaragua to scale their services to Guatemala and El Salvador.

Further information on the La Red de Pathways partners:

Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas seeks to empower small businesses, facilitate trade and regional competitiveness, build a modern and inclusive workforce, and encourage green, sustainable business practices.

World Environment Center (WEC) is an independent, global non-profit, non-advocacy organization that advances sustainable development through the business practices and operations of its member companies and in partnership with governments, multi-lateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, universities and other stakeholders. WEC’s mission is to promote business and societal value by advancing solutions to sustainable development challenges. 

Context Partners is a social innovation design firm that helps organizations deepen relationships with their communities to succeed in today’s connected world. An activated community is the surest path to increase innovation, stakeholder buy-in, brand engagement and business intelligence.

Le Groupe-conseil baastel ltée (Baastel) provides services in Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), Results-based Management (RBM), strategic planning, project and program management. Baastel’s reputation in the field is built on a record of international and national expertise that is backed by attention to detail, quality, transparency and neutrality.

EarthShift Global is a leading international provider of sustainability solutions. EarthShift provides software, training and consulting services that allow organizations to engage in informed decision-making about the social, economic and environmental consequences that flow from their activities. EarthShift leverages innovative approaches to sustainability challenges to effect significant change by shifting the way organizations think and interact with the planet’s ecosystems.