- Bachelor's degree, or the equivalent
- Proficient English speaking and writing skills
- Entrepreneurial Initiative. The entrepreneur demonstrates the vision, persistence, passion, and drive to take their business to the next level. He/she is committed to his/her business idea.
- Intellectual curiosity. The entrepreneur has the desire to receive education and training in functional areas and apply new knowledge to his/her business setting.
- Global mindset. The entrepreneur has an interest in learning about successful entrepreneurship models in other parts of the world and applying insights in order to make his/her business more competitive in the global market.
The EC-Africa program aims to reach innovative companies in all sectors of the economy that have high potential for growth. Not all EC-Africa companies will fit the same mold, but most companies should meet the following criteria:
- 2 years in business
- 10 or more employees
- Scalable business model
- Looking to expand beyond borders. Companies best suited for this program should have little or no presence outside of the home country, but they have the potential to tap into external markets for expansion.
- Business Innovation. Companies change or improve the face of industry in their country or region.
If you don't meet the criteria above, but you still think that your company is a good fit for the program, we encourage you to apply. Please note that companies must enroll a team of at least 2 members. Single participants may not apply.
Success Stories from ECLA
Below are just a few examples of how ECLA participants utilized their project work to make impactful changes in their company and create a path for long-term growth and expansion.
- A technology company in Chile found that their sales process was too expensive and too slow. They used their ECLA project to develop new sales and follow-up processes. They also redesigned their pilot testing and communication protocols with clients. Their new protocols yielded a 47% reduction in sales processing time and an 8% increase in sales.
- A healthcare company in Peru wanted to eliminate the inconsistencies in services provided across their network of clinics. To do this, they developed new service protocols, new training for their doctors, and new systems to gather information and communicate with patients. These new processes resulted in a 50% reduction in service time, 30% reduction in errors, and $400K in direct cost savings across their network of clinics.
- A manufacturer in Chile wanted to investigate why their retail line was not profitable. In their project planning, they conducted a thorough analysis of the supply chain. They found that they needed to re-negotiate with their suppliers, adjust their working shifts to increase production with the same capacity, develop a new pricing strategy, and review their product line. They ended up changing their business model from 100% white label to 73% white label and 27% branded. After doing all of this, the profitability of their retail line went from -12% to +15%.
- A Colombian retail company used their ECLA project to define the sequence and timing of their market strategy and to develop a new financing strategy. They created a clear strategy for organic growth and acquisition growth, as well as a clear pitch to equity investors. From this, they garnered $42M in capital injection to finance the company’s expansion. They were able to organically expand to Peru, and they carried out a successful acquisition in Chile.
- An online service company in Argentina wanted to work on a strategy to open a second market. Through their ECLA project, they developed a clear strategy to open operations in Colombia and the sequence/timing for other countries. They also developed a clear strategy to search for a strategic partner to finance this expansion. They were able to secure a $3M investment from one of the most prominent e-commerce players in LatAm. Thanks to their focused strategy, the new operation in Colombia was profitable within 6 months.
- A Chilean manufacturing company needed to do a segment analysis to define their high potential market. They also wanted to conduct an analysis to define the sequence and timing of their market expansion. They defined a clear strategy to focus on very specific market segments and abandon low potential segments, as well as a strategy to enter the US market. They were able to secure long-term contracts with key clients in the LatAm region and their first large client in the US.
Learn more about the inaugural cohort of 2022 EC-Africa here.