Washington, D.C.

Nov 2, 2011
Outside Magazine

TechnoServe has helped revitalize the domestic poultry industry in Mozambique, leading to new economic opportunities for poultry farmers like Domingos Alfredo Torres.    Photo: Courtesy of TechnoServe

BY THE NUMBERS: Since 2010, an estimated 40,300 people employed in 30 countries with the help of Technoserve’s programs
WHO'S IN CHARGE: Bruce McNamer, a 49-year-old Stanford MBA, formerly an investment banker at Morgan Stanley, a management consultant at McKinsey, and a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay
WHAT IT DOES: While working in a hospital in Ghana in the 1960s, Technoserve founder Ed Bullard realized that local farms and businesses languished not because of a shortage of moti­vation or ability, but because of a lack of resources, both educational and financial. He started Technoserve in 1968 to connect entrepreneurs in developing countries with capital and educational resources. The organization started primarily with small farmers, but now, with a $58.3 million annual budget, it works to strengthen entire industries, such as coffee and cocoa. Some 1,000 staffers, mostly natives with successful business experience, train entrepreneurs in skills from writing business plans to apply­ing fertilizer; connect them to finance organizations and corporations that can purchase their goods; hold business-plan competitions; and lobby to improve regulations. The results can be tangible for beneficiaries like Nicaragua’s Jorge Salazar Cooperative of farmers, which, with Technoserve’s help, started planting high-value crops like rare criollo cocoa and built a plant for processing malanga, a local tuber. The co-op then reinvested its profits to build a pharmacy and support local schools and police.
EXTRA CREDIT: Technoserve enlists volunteer consultants from companies like McKinsey and L’OrĂ©al. It’s top-rated by the American Institute of Philanthropy.
LOOKING AHEAD: Techno­serve recently received a grant from the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund to help develop Haiti’s business sector along with initiatives like the Haiti Hope Project, a partnership with Coca-Cola to help mango farmers find new markets and financial backing.