Fact Sheet
July 20, 2012

The Latin American IdEA Partnership (La Idea) is a business competition platform that fosters collaboration between entrepreneurs in the United States and Latin America with the goal of expanding innovative businesses that will generate employment and economic growth throughout the Americas. La Idea winners will receive working capital grants to support their businesses. La Idea partners will also provide participants with tailored business counseling and mentorship and access to financing.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced La Idea on November 14, 2011, during Global Entrepreneurship Week. On April 13, 2012, President Barack Obama highlighted La Idea as a key component of the Small Business Network of the Americas (SBNA), which will strengthen partnerships between small business development centers and their clients throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The Opportunity

Latin America's increasing affluence represents a unique opportunity for Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States. Latin America is a region with fast-growing economies and a rapidly expanding middle class. The Hispanic community in the United States numbers at least 50 million. This diaspora includes highly skilled and educated entrepreneurs who can serve as an important engine of growth and development in the United States and Latin America.

The Competition

La Idea will begin accepting applications starting in summer 2012. Eligible businesses are partnerships between U.S. and Latin American entrepreneurs. The first round of the competition will review business partnerships in Mexico and Central America.

Proposals will be evaluated based on their project strategy, development impact, sustainability, scalability, and resource leveraging capability. Finalists will be invited to present their ideas to a panel of judges consisting of experts from development institutions, private sector companies, financial institutions, investors, and diaspora community leaders.

Diaspora Engagement

La Idea was developed by the International diaspora Engagement Alliance (IdEA), which is an innovative platform for public-private partnerships designed to engage diaspora communities, the private sector, and public institutions in a collaborative process. The goal is to support diaspora-centered partnerships that promote trade and investment, volunteerism, philanthropy, diplomacy, entrepreneurship, and innovation in countries of origin.

Support and Resources Provided

  • Awards to winning innovative and scalable businesses
  • Access to financing
  • Assistance to access global markets and investors
  • Business counseling

Expected Outcomes

  • Catalyze engagement between Latin American and U.S. diaspora entrepreneurs to promote high-impact business and social development
  • Build businesses that have real sustainable impact on communities
  • Share knowledge and create new learning networks with and among diaspora communities
  • Create new, cross-sector partnerships for development
  • Provide tools that foster sustainable development and expand opportunities

Our Partners

La Idea is a public-private partnership with the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, Small Business Administration, Inter-American Development Bank, Univision Networks, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Boom Financial, Accion, and WellSpace to support collaboration between business partners in the United States and Latin America. The U.S. Department of the Treasury is also supporting our partnership.

For updates on La Idea, please see our website: www.laidea.us

Or contact us at: diaspora@state.gov

Who Are We Looking For?

ABC, International

This shoe manufacturing company has taken steps to grow their business to an international operation and provide social support to the communities they operate in. For every pair of the shoes sold, the company:

  • Provides healthcare and education services to their employees and families, in partnership with non-governmental organizations
  • Gives away a pair of shoes to someone in need, through charitable alliances and
  • Makes the shoes through an eco-friendly process

A Senior International Trade Consultant has helped this company with in-depth market information, import regulations, assistance with locating distributors, manufacturer contracts, and help in selecting the most appropriate trade shows for its products.

Developing eco-friendly products and creating a global social initiative to expand abroad, especially in Latin America, are a few of this company’s goals. They plan to gradually influence the world in a positive way through expansion and example.