Economic Growth Beyond The Headlines

In the context of the rapid economic growth, growing middle class, and unprecedented political stability across Latin America, it is sometimes easy to overlook the serious developmental challenges the region still faces. One of my former professional lives was with Ashoka in Mexico City, and my year there helped give me a deeper understanding of how economic development at all levels of society happens most effectively by promoting entrepreneurs.

Ashoka’s focus is on social entrepreneurs, or those that create sustainable and innovative solutions to pressing issues in the countries they serve. One additional goal they have is to raise the profile of local solutions so they can be applied globally. Given the scarce resources of most of their fellowship recipients, this is not always an easy task.

This is why I was so heartened to see this piece in Forbes from my Fulbright successor, David Nahmias, who is now coordinating work across the Americas to address the very issue of how to build upon the local impact that many of Ashoka’s fellows make every day.

The entrepreneurs receiving additional funding from the ABC, and all of those that receive fellowships from Ashoka, are changing lives and are part of this broader story of the region’s economic progress. It is important that their stories are not eclipsed by the macro growth numbers, the corporate expansions, and the government programs that together form part of the complementary ecosystem that is changing the face of Latin America.

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