Our work experience with entrepreneurs of the informal sector has led us to the creation of an ambitious transformative business program

“Take the Belgian NGO ACTEC, that has been working for southern micro-entrepreneurs for 30 years; add its strategic partners from Guatemala, Colombia and El Salvador, who have a long experience supporting entrepreneurs of the informal sector; season it with micro-entrepreneurs with entrepreneurial spirit, and you will have an exquisite and innovative program of socioeconomic development focused on the transformation of these people and their businesses: microMBA”.

Breaking development paradigms

Many of the development projects in the sector of business training prioritize programs that allow access to as many people as possible, with the only distinction of their socioeconomic vulnerability. This results in generalist programs offering mainly a basic support.


MicroMBA goes even further: supporting the most vulnerable does not only mean offering the basics, but also providing them with high quality and more effective programs in order to generate sustainable development.

Excellence and ambition are for everyone, even for the poorest
Inspired by the mayan women of the guatemalan highlands
empresaria guatemalteca
The recipe was discovered in 2008 in the Guatemalan highlands. The Belgian NGO ACTEC and its local partner FUNDAP, who had been working together for 15 years, realized the limits of their microcredit community support program for vulnerable Mayan women: COMMUNITY BANKS. They defined the first premise: although financial support was positive, it had little impact on the production capacity, the revenue growth and the improvement of the living conditions of micro-entrepreneurs and their environment.
Microcredits meet the immediate need for liquidity, but they do not change the minds of people receiving them. They do not encourage women to innovate and develop their entrepreneurial skills. Therefore, microcredit per se does not bring about development.
In the face of this reality, ACTEC defined the recipe of microMBA by taking some ingredients of the world’s best MBAs and seasoning it to the taste of the Mayan women from the Guatemalan highlands.
Strengthened by colombian familiy entrepreneurs
empresarios colombianos
4 years later, due to the excellent results obtained with Mayan women, ACTEC decided to transfer the same methodology to Colombia, specifically to its partners INTERACTUAR and Fundación CARVAJAL. The first exchanges of the microMBA network began at this moment, with visits from ACTEC partners to Guatemala and Colombia
INTERACTUAR knows perfectly the entrepreneurs of the poor neighborhoods of Medellín and has a rich supply of business development services. After only one year of the implementation of microMBA in one of the most innovative cities in the world, the revolutionary dimension of the proposal became apparent: Interactuar had never been able to generate such a profound transformation of micro enterprises and their entrepreneurs.
With the support of ACTEC, INTERACTUAR has also developed a version of microMBA for the rural sector.
Similarly, in the Valle del Cauca, in Cali, Fundación Carvajal has also launched microMBA and obtained very positive transformation results.
Good things always come in threes – the salvadoran confirmation
empresario salvadoreño
Due to its success, the methodology became regional: ACTEC challenged its Salvadoran partner, FUSAI. The transfer of the methodology was planned and carried out by Interacturar. FUSAI managed to quickly implement microMBA in El Salvador.
This third experience confirmed the excellence of the program and its potential of replicability in different contexts.
The close collaboration between ACTEC and its partners has enabled them to verify, improve and strengthen the methodology of this transformative pilot program since 2008. This work is being consolidated thanks to the creation of the microMBA Network, which facilitates the exchange of experiences, the improvement of the components and a continuous learning among the different entities.