The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious impact on the global economy, especially the livelihoods of vulnerable groups are facing severe challenges. In order to assist the youths in Guatemala in preparing for economic recovery after the pandemic, the Taiwan Investment and Trade Service Mission in Central America of TaiwanICDF, Ministry of Economic Affairs in Guatemala, the Youth Committee of the Presidential Office in Guatemala, the local municipal government offices and the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation (Swisscontact) cooperatively conducted the "Global Entrepreneurship Week Guatemala" (GEW2021) from November 5th to November 14th, 2021. Ambassador Cheng Licheng in Guatemala and Minister Antonio Malouf of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Guatemala were invited to attend the opening ceremony. In his speech, Minister Antonio especially thanked Taiwan for its assistance and support to Guatemalan SMEs, which helps SMEs continue to grow, and obtain income to sustain their livelihood during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The "Global Entrepreneurship Week" provided the Guatemala government and academic institutions an opportunity to gather, and share their experience, the challenges faced and successful cases when assisting MSMEs owners in entrepreneurship education, as well as the establishment of an entrepreneurial incubation ecosystem. The Entrepreneurship Education Centers and Incubators under the cooperation of the project also helped start-ups exhibit their new products and obtain the opportunities of investment matchmaking. TaiwanICDF has long invested in the entrepreneurship and management guidance for MSMEs in Guatemala, and has more actively helped strengthen the constitution of SMEs and create diversified business modes during the COVID-19 pandemic. After the outbreak of the pandemic, the “Project for the Capacity Strengthening to Support the Incubation and Entrepreneurship for MIPYMEs” of Taiwan Investment and Trade Service Mission in Central America has assisted 105 manufacturers and more than 400 kinds of products and services to be displayed and sold online.
In addition to coaching SMEs to innovate, TaiwanICDF also actively encourages young people in Guatemala to show their design energy. Through the "Project for the Revitalization of Crafts and Youth Entrepreneurship in Antigua Guatemala and Surrounding Municipalities in Sacatepéquez ", it conducted the "Youth Design Awards" (@kakawconcurso) competition in local, and invited young designers and craftsmen from Guatemala to participate in teams. The participants were expected to transform the traditional handicrafts, and develop products with creativity, cultural meaning, local characteristics and commercial value. Since the beginning of the competition in May, a total of 135 teams have responded enthusiastically, and the final stage was held in November. In addition to the review by professional judges, physical and online exhibitions and voting activities were conducted as well. The total number of viewers and votes exceeded 10,000, encouraging young people to devote themselves to the trend of traditional handicraft design and the development of the local industries.
Through a multipronged approach, TaiwanICDF hopes to encourage SMEs and young people in Guatemala to innovate and develop high value-added commodities and diversified business models on the basis of existing industries, so as to promote the economic development of Guatemala.