Employment challenges persist in Honduras, especially among young people. But one positive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the incentive it created to shift to e-commerce. Small businesses that successfully made the transition to digital had a competitive advantage in their recovery from the pandemic and future growth. That’s why, in August, ACDI/VOCA partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Sube Latinoamérica to launch the Detonante program.

Art work promoted the Detonante launch events while celebrating program goals

Detonante, which launched on International Youth Day, involves 27 organizations working together to create new opportunities for Honduran youth to join the digital economy. It is a joint effort led by the USAID Transforming Market Systems (TMS) Activity in Honduras, a seven-year activity funded by USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA that partners with private sector organizations and the Honduran government to address the root causes of migration. Creating more jobs of interest to young people is at the center of that mission.

Forging connections at the San Pedro Sula event

“We wholeheartedly thank the 27 organizations that have joined on to this initiative and celebration.”

— Janina Jaruzelski, USAID/Honduras Mission Director

Launch Event Connects Organizations with Youth

Detonante launched during events that took place simultaneously online and across three cities: Tegucigalpa, La Esperanza, and San Pedro Sula. More than 5,150 individuals from the private sector, local and national government, international NGOs, universities, and members of the entrepreneurship ecosystem gathered to pledge support and elevate the role of Hondurans under the age of 30. The events included business fairs, trainings, networking, and discussions on access to employment, youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship.

Detail of a panel at the Tegucigalpa event

The TMS Activity regularly works with both the worker supply and talent-seeking sides of the digital economy to ensure sustainable change takes place. Through Detonante, youth will have the chance to connect with business owners and a network of allies from the corporations, universities, and other sectors.

Continuing the “E-Commerce for All” Program

Detonante is not the first time the UNDP, the TMS Activity, and Sube Latinoamérica have teamed up to support youth employment. In 2019, the partners launched the E-Commerce for All program, which reached 13,000 micro, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that went on to earn $740,000 in online sales. Three thousand enterprises have since graduated from the program’s Fintech Academy.

“Participating in E-Commerce for All was a first-class experience—very instructive. Our trainer made everything clear and simple. I am not a tech wizard, but I am here to say that we can all take our businesses online.”

— Claudia Patricia Sánchez, owner of Bebitos y Más

Sube Latinoamérica is a long-time partner of the TMS Activity. The company coaches small businesses and helps them integrate e-commerce solutions using electronic payment platforms.

“Digital transformation in countries like Honduras is a process that takes time, focus, and empathy towards MSME owners. . . . Today in Detonante, we celebrate the results of the digital transformation that built and reaffirms our commitment to boosting the country’s economy using technology. Congratulations to all the graduating entrepreneurs!”

— Ricardo Irías, CEO of Sube Latinoamérica

What’s Next?

During the launch event, Janina Jaruzelski, USAID/Honduras Mission Director, announced the TMS Activity’s Digital Jobs Strategy, which includes 1,000 new spots for enterprises to enroll in the E-Commerce for All program’s Fintech Academy. She also unveiled the TMS Activity’s Microwork Bootcamp and other initiatives that will prepare and connect 35,000 youth to remote part-time jobs and full-time careers in the “microwork” industry. The TMS Activity has also connected with more than 80 companies committed to employing “digital natives” in Honduras.

Learn more about our work in Honduras.

Learn more about the TMS Activity.