The U.S. Department of State, in partnership with the World Environment Center (WEC), announced twelve (12) finalists of the Pathways to Prosperity Innovation Challenge today. The Challenge was created to discover existing local, high-impact solutions that empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America and the Caribbean to advance economic development and prosperity.
These finalists have been selected because of their experiences addressing operational, labor, and environmental barriers to business that correlate to one of the four pillars of the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative: 1) Empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises; 2) Facilitating Trade; 3) Developing a Modern Workforce; and 4) Promoting Sustainable Business Practices.
The finalists will vie for one of four awards of up to USD 500,000 and technical support to scale up or replicate their initiatives in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Panama, or Peru.
All finalists will be invited to join WEC and the State Department at a three-day gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to further refine their solutions for scaling across the region. The event will culminate on July 25, 2014 with a pitch day during which four winners will be determined from the pool of 12 finalists. A panel of international expert judges from the government and private sectors will select the winners.
“The solutions developed by the Pathways to Prosperity Innovation Challenge finalists represent a great opportunity for small businesses in the region,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta S. Jacobson. “I look forward to hearing from finalists and then to the next phase of the Challenge as the best, most inclusive ideas are implemented to solve shared regional challenges and increase shared prosperity.”
The twelve finalists are:
More information about all of the finalists and complete information about the challenge can be found at challenge.wec.org/awards.
About Pathways to Prosperity
Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas is a policy-level dialogue that links 16 Western Hemisphere governments and societies that collectively seek to empower small businesses, facilitate trade and regional competitiveness, build a modern and inclusive workforce, and encourage green, sustainable business practices. Pathways member countries currently include Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and the United States. Brazil has observer status. The Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean are strategic Pathways partners.