Fundación Paraguaya, founded in 1985, pioneered the promotion of entrepreneurs through loans and training in Paraguay. It works throughout the country, by means of 17 regional offices and covers more than 136 cities. As a non-profit civil association, Fundación Paraguaya does not issue dividends to its associates.
Surplus from operations are earmarked to capitalize the loan programs in the countryside, to finance, sustain and support the Agriculture School in the Chaco and empower the Junior Achievement Program in its strategy to expand beyond the capital and major cities.
Fundación Paraguaya de Cooperación y Desarrollo arose in 1985 from businesspersons and social leaders frustrated with the dictator’s inability to deal with the problems of severe poverty and the lack of support for those who wished to leave poverty behind.
The original premise was that, by improving the business skills of micro- entrepreneurs, they would then be capable to initiate their own businesses, benefitting themselves and their community.
It soon became obvious that more than the lack of skills, the lack of credit prevented the growth of these businesses. Rapid access to a relatively small loan could make the difference between taking advantage of a business opportunity and losing it.
Microcredit was still an issue that few people knew about back then. A fortunate meeting with Acción Internacional, which at the time was implementing microfinance programs in other countries of Latin America, was the beginning of an alliance that has grown ever closer over the last twenty years.
A Return to Education
The end of the dictatorship opened Paraguay to the world and brought for Fundación Paraguaya new possibilities for cooperation with the State. It also highlighted the need for a labor force with a greater understanding of how business works, and greater competitiveness in a growing global market. Our educational program in entrepreneurship that began in 1995, in association with Junior Achievement International, aim to give students knowledge on how the economy works, thus creating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
A Radical Future
One of the biggest challenges for Paraguay was to bring the benefits of economic development to the rural areas. This was not happening despite the fact that more than half the population earned their living off the land.
In 2002, Fundación Paraguaya was endowed with an Agriculture School that became the basis for a new radical development model: the Self-Sufficient Organic Farm School. The potential for self-financing schools is enormous due to the high demand for Agriculture Education that cannot be served solely with government funds. These are truly exciting times.