U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Photo by: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND

Have an innovative and scalable business idea in mind that has the potential to create jobs and spur economic growth in Latin America?

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Wednesday (July 25) the launch of a new business competition for Latin America. The competition aims to encourage diaspora groups in the United States to “give back” to their countries of origin, in line with the theme of this year’s Global Diaspora Forum.

Interested applicants will have a chance to win grant funding to get their business ideas off the ground. They will be provided with a range of resources — from counseling to networking with international buyers and sellers — to develop their business concepts.

The public will have a chance to vote for their favorite business plans online. Participants will also have a chance to share their ideas through different social media networks.

Finalists will be selected based on project strategy, development impact, sustainability, scalability and “resource leveraging capability.” Judges will come from development institutions, the private sector, financial institutions and diaspora communities.

The project is similar to the Caribbean Idea Marketplace launched also under the International diaspora Engagement Alliance. This new project’s partners include the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, WellSpace, Accion and Boom Financial.

Other new initiatives announced at the forum are: the Diasporas for Development partnership, which aims to send professionals from diaspora communities overseas to do volunteer development work; an online resource platform that will help raise funds for diaspora organizations and projects; and an online “mentoring and networking” platform linking diaspora communities with those from their countries of origin.

Funding for the Diasporas for Development initiative will come from Accenture U.S.A. and USAID. The money will go to Cuso International, a nonprofit that sends volunteers around the world to work with local organizations on skills development, job training and entrepreneurship.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.