New ANDE Ecosystem Snapshots show the entrepreneurial ecosystem in rural areas of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador

May 11, 2021

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) releases new research on organizations that promote entrepreneurship and support rural MSMEs. Each snapshot provides local data on available services and most needed support, with additional insights regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Contact: Mónica Ducoing
Central America & Mexico Chapter Manager
Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE)

To connect with the regional Ecosystem and see the report launch, attend the Rural Entrepreneurship week, from May 11 – 13. Register here for different sessions.

Washington, DC, May 11, 2021 – The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a global network of almost 300 organizations that promote entrepreneurship in developing economies, today launched three new reports ecosystem snapshots, showcasing rural entrepreneurship in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

ANDE’s Ecosystem Snapshots are designed to collect basic information on the support available for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in a specific city, region or country. This information works like a census of local actors and reflects a specific moment in time. The methodology has a focus on active ecosystem organizations, and research is carried out by local teams that involve these organizations through the process. The snapshots can be used to understand what gaps exist in the support available to entrepreneurs, to create connections between actors with similar goals, and as a general reference for collaboration and guide for policy support.

The new Central American snapshots identify a total of 328 organizations—including 117 in Guatemala, 107 in Honduras, and 104 in El Salvador—including capacity development providers, government agencies, foundations, sector associations, financial institutions, and others. In all three countries, a high proportion of these organizations are headquartered locally, which contrasts with ANDE reports for other regions, where internationally headquartered organizations are more common. Most organizations mapped in the snapshots offer technical assistance or capacity building services, but only a minority invest directly in, or in funds aimed at, female entrepreneurs.

Additional key takeaways from the research include:

  1. Organizations identify access to early-stage investment as one of the greatest challenges for entrepreneurs in all three countries. The low number of financial providers in the sample, and the fact that few organizations offer access to investment for rural entrepreneurs, highlight a significant gap and causes for further study.
  2. Between 90 and 100% of the respondents in the three countries consider that rural companies grow more slowly than their urban counterparts. Some of the most cited reasons are the lack of: skills and / or education, public policies that facilitate the growth of rural entrepreneurship, access to financing and / or growth capital, and limited access or access to markets (diversity of markets).
  3. Organizations that align their work with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – 75% or more of the organizations in El Salvador and Guatemala, but only 59% in Honduras – do so primarily aligned with the goals of poverty alleviation, gender equality, and decent work and economic growth. There is a smaller number of organizations aligned to environmental objectives (energy, water, land and underwater life, or climate). For example, no organization in El Salvador, and only 1% in Honduras and Guatemala, indicated measuring impacts related to SDG 15: Life on Land, despite the fact that several are working in the agricultural sector.
  4. Most support organizations have created or modified programs to focus and help companies survive the COVID-19 crisis. Only a small percentage plan to delay the provision of financing. Along with adjusting the content of their programs or funding and helping entrepreneurs secure funding, changing the way in which they deliver support given social distancing guidelines is seen as urgent. This is complicated by the lack of digital infrastructure in all three countries, particularly in rural areas.

The reports are available in English and Spanish on ANDE’s ecosystem snapshot website.

About ANDE

The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE) is a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in developing economies. ANDE members provide critical financial, educational, and business support services to small and growing enterprises (SGBs) based on the conviction that SGBs create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth, and produce environmental and social benefits.

As the leading global voice of the SGB sector, ANDE believes that SGBs are a powerful, yet underleveraged tool in addressing social and environmental challenges. Since 2009, we have grown into a trusted network of nearly 300 collaborative members that operate in nearly every developing economy. ANDE grows the body of knowledge, mobilizes resources, and connects the institutions that support the small business entrepreneurs who build inclusive prosperity in the developing world.

About The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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