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Latin American Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2010 awarded in Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena, Colombia, 8 April 2010 – Six social entrepreneurs have been recognized as Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 in Latin America during the Presidents Plenary session of the World Economic Forum on Latin America, held in Cartagena, Colombia, on 8 April. Suzana and Claudio Padua, founders of Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas, had previously been recognized as Social Entrepreneur of the Year Brazil. The other four winners are David Gaus from Ecuador, Vladimir Delagneau from Nicargua, and Joseph Philippe and Anne Hastings from Haiti. They received their awards in the presence of President Uribe from Colombia and President Martinelli from Panama.

Social entrepreneurs emphasize long-term sustainability instead of short-term gains. Their primary focus is to maximize benefits for society and the environment by implementing innovative approaches to key challenges. They operate social businesses or organizations that are a mixture of non-profits and for-profits.

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, an affiliate organization of the World Economic Forum, conducts the search and selection of social entrepreneurs in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, India and South-East Asia. It selects three to five social entrepreneurs per year from each region. Selected social entrepreneurs are connected to the world’s business, political and media leaders through the events and initiatives of the World Economic Forum.

The following six winners were awarded Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2010 in Latin America.

David Gaus, Andean Health and Development, Ecuador (
Rural Ecuadorian populations face a range of healthcare issues, including lack of access to high quality, hospital-based care. Andean Health and Development is fundamentally changing rural healthcare in Ecuador by providing sustainable, quality medical care, while also training young doctors and nurses to become leaders in rural healthcare. David Gaus founded AHD in 1996 and has served as Executive Director of AHD since then. AHD utilizes a unique financing model – operation costs at AHD’s hospitals are funded entirely by local sources: the Ecuadorian Social Security Administration, fees for services from patients and contributions from local municipalities. AHD currently runs two hospitals and plans to open a third hospital next year.

 Vladimir Delagneau, Tecnosol, Nicaragua (
Vladimir Delagneau is the Founder and Director of Tecnosolucion (Tecnosol). In rural Nicaragua, where more than 50% of the population lacks access to electricity, Tecnosol works to provide customers with alternative energy solutions. In the 12 years since it was founded, Tecnosol has installed more than 50,000 PV systems, including lighting, water pumps and refrigeration systems. To help customers finance the systems, Tecnosol works with local MFIs and the Inter-American Development Bank. Tecnosol has 17 stores in Nicaragua and recently opened its first store in El Salvador.

 Joseph Philippe and Anne Hastings, Fonkoze, Haiti (
Over the past 15 years, Joseph Philippe and Anne Hastings have built Fonkoze Financial Services into Haiti’s largest microfinance institution, with 41 branches located across the country. Fonkoze is a full-service MFI, providing savings, loans and remittance services to its clients, as well as business and health training. Fonkoze seeks to empower rural Haitians to build and diversify their income, learn new skills and follow a “staircase out of poverty” – a model they developed to ensure that Fonkoze services can reach the poorest in Haiti. Currently, Fonkoze serves more than 47,000 women borrowers and 200,000 savers.

Claudio and Suzana Padua, Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (IPE), Brazil (
IPE-Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas (Institute for Ecological Research) promotes conservation and sustainable development in impoverished communities throughout Brazil. IPE aims to conserve biodiversity while respecting the traditions of local communities living near areas in need of protection. To achieve its mission, IPE carries out a number of activities, including research of rare or endangered species; environmental educational programmes; professional training in conservation biology; policy advocacy for biodiversity conservation; partnership engagement with companies to improve social and environmental responsibility; and projects that encourage sustainable alternatives for income generation of communities living near protected areas.

The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (