Young entrepreneurs in Rio Grande, Tierra del Fuego Province, developing sustainability projects.
The city of Rio Grande in Tierra del Fuego, situated in South America’s southernmost tip, is subject to harsh weather conditions and cut off from Argentina’s dynamic urban centers. Since the economic crisis that gripped the country in the 1990s, the region has offered few development prospects. To create new opportunities, TotalEnergies Austral has been supporting local entrepreneurial action for over ten years now.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic further exacerbated the region’s economic and social hardships, prompting Contribuir al Desarrollo Regional, a regional development NGO, to create the “Generación Emprendedora” program. “Generación Emprendedora” provides mentoring and training sessions to young entrepreneurs looking to boost the positive social and environmental impacts of their projects, which range from reducing plastic waste to creating recyclable packaging and reusing old clothes. Participants received three months of online training and guidance in business model development, strategic communication, finance, how to find local partners and other key areas. “One of the things I’ve learned from the program is that consistency and concentration bring good results,” says one young entrepreneur. “The program has exceeded my expectations. It’s helped me strengthen the positive impact of my project,” said another.
At the end of the program, 11 businesses had the opportunity to benefit from a further six months of mentoring and access to the federal microcredit support fund. Two businesses received the Positive Impact Entrepreneur Award and the Promising Entrepreneur Award, along with 50,000 pesos each in financial assistance.
27 fledgling businesses, representing 45 young people, have taken part in the program.
All participants said that:
- They were able to establish at least one useful alliance for their business.
- They would recommend the program to other entrepreneurs.
- They were able to implement a change or start using new tools.