Entrepreneur graduated from INCAE captivated Kamala Harris, the vice president of the United States

09 of June 2022
INCAE Business School
  • Vos Honduras, led by Pili Luna, the project that caught the attention of Vice President Kamala Harris, was promoted by INCAE. What began as an innovative venture today benefits women and men from underserved communities in two countries.

Los Angeles California. June 7, 2022.- Within the framework of the Summit of the Americas, Kamala Harris, the vice president of the United States, spoke on June 7 with the Honduran businesswoman Pili Luna about the Vos Honduras acceleration project, developed within LEADS Woman, INCAE's academic and mentoring program, with the support of Mastercard.

Precisely the alliance and collaboration between the private sector, civil society and governments, was highlighted by Vice President Harris as the key to promoting progress in the region, with the empowerment of women as the central axis, as INCAE has been developing for several years.

“At INCAE we train leaders who are the engine of change in their communities. In the case of women who participate in the program LEADS Woman We help develop the necessary capacities to enhance their enterprises and connect them with the private and public sectors. Thus, we seek that they have an impact with their projects in the lives of people and the communities where they are carried out. To achieve this purpose, the support of the private sector is essential”, said Gabriela Lucke, director of the Center for Inclusive and Sustainable Leadership (CELIS) ​​of INCAE.

INCAE, together with Mastercard and with the additional support of Cargill and Pricesmart, has been working on initiatives LEADS Woman and soon Women's Business Growth, efforts that seek to support small and medium-sized enterprises led by women in Honduras and Guatemala to develop their capacities for innovation and growth and give them access to capital and new markets to boost their businesses and create jobs.

According to research led by the INCAE Faculty, which is the basis for the design of programs such as LEADS Woman, the rate of female entrepreneurship in Latin America is one of the highest in the world, but so is the rate of abandonment, due to the lack of management tools that allow women entrepreneurs to innovate, consolidate and scale businesses. Likewise, female entrepreneurship is carried out in a sector with little added value, which limits the ability to scale and internationalize the business. 

Therefore, the case of Pili Luna, one of the students of the program LEADS Woman, invited to participate in the Summit of the Americas, is inspiring and an example to follow. Pili created Vos Honduras, a microenterprise that promotes inclusive and sustainable socioeconomic growth through innovation and design. The company is dedicated to rescuing fish skin and transforming it into leather that can be used by the fashion industry. To carry this out, Vos Honduras trains and employs women and men from local communities who transform the local product such as artisanal fishing. Vos Honduras, initially developed in three strategic communities on the north coast of Honduras, was replicated in 2022 in Puntarenas, the Costa Rican province with the highest poverty rate (29,9% in 2017) in the country, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).

The fish skin reuse pilot project impacted 575 people from 115 Honduran families and 232 people from 58 Costa Rican families, giving them new skills and employment. INCAE's Center for Inclusive and Sustainable Leadership (CELIS), in partnership with Marviva, has led the experience in Costa Rica. 

“The Women Leads program, focused on helping women entrepreneurs acquire management and innovation skills, is an example of how INCAE fulfills its mission through sustainable social change programs. Alliances between academia and the private sector are essential for the progress of women in the region and necessary to generate inclusive development in our region”, concludes Enrique Bolaños, Rector, INCAE Business School.

Leadership for sustainability: Disruption, social progress and regional impact.

Placing Opportunities In Her Hands

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About INCAE Business School

Transforming lives for a better future in Latin America. 
Latin American Leadership. Global Competitiveness.

We promote the development of the region through the training of leaders, applied research and the promotion of intersectoral dialogue. The sustainable development of Latin America requires responsible, innovative and up-to-date leaders. As the best business school in Latin America, INCAE has promoted the progress of Latin American society through the training of talented regional leaders through Master's and Executive Programs.

For more than five decades, we have worked together with companies, international organizations and professionals of the highest caliber to solve problems, develop capacities and prepare them to respond to the demands of the future. This global perspective has been enriched by a comprehensive vision of sustainability pioneered in the region that involves social responsibility, shared value in the first decade of the new century, and more recently the Social Progress Index as a valuable measure to achieve well-being and increase the competitiveness of Latin America.

About You Honduras

You Honduras provides training and employment opportunities to women and men in coastal areas, while taking advantage of local resources, such as fish skin, a by-product of artisanal fishing.

About the Alliance for Central America (PCA)

The Alliance for Central America is the coordinating body for Vice President Harris's call to action to deepen private sector investment in the Northern Triangle. The purpose of the Alliance is to facilitate and support practical solutions to advance economic opportunity, address pressing climate, education and health challenges, and promote long-term investment and workforce capacity in support of a vision of hope. for Central America.