About Us

WE ARE FUNDES

We believe traditional entrepreneurs are the fundamental building block for Latin America’s long-term stability and prosperity.

 

But we are also pragmatic enough to know that they need to transform their perspective, practices, and tools to stay relevant and become more resilient.

 

That’s why we offer them practical on-the-ground expertise, a strong network of corporate and government partners, and a range of innovative technology solutions to help them succeed in today’s rapidly changing markets.

OUR STORY

A journey of spirit, cooperation,
and change.

Fundes was founded in 1984 in response to the devastating wave of unemployment that hit the continent. Our founder, Stephan Schmidheiny was convinced that traditional entrepreneurs could be the best development opportunity for Latin America, and he was determined to be part of the answer.

 

He began by creating an organization that gave micro-entrepreneurs access to credit to create jobs and contribute to growth. Gradually, FUNDES moved away from its original activity of financial support and pursued its original goal: to find innovative ways to help micro and small businesses reach their full potential as changemakers.

 

Together with corporations, foundations, governments, and international organizations, we have built large-scale development programs around small businesses.

 

After nearly 40 years, the same conviction still drives our ecosystem. We honor their entrepreneurial spirit and celebrate the courage and passion it takes to build a small business here in Latin America.

Our board of directors

Richard Aitkenhead

Richard has a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He served as Minister of Economy and Finance in Guatemala (actively involved in the country’s Peace Agreements), Director of INCAE Business School, and is currently President of IDC Group.

Ulrich Frei

Ulrich holds a Master's degree in Pharmacy from Ecole Suisse de Droguerie and an MBA from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. He has extensive management experience in various industries and continents: Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. From 2008 to 2013, he was CEO of FUNDES, now a permanent member of the Board of Directors.

Andreas Eggenberg

Andreas has extensive experience in global organizations working for sustainable business. He is currently Chairman of Masisa and Ingenio Magdalena S.A.; and a member of the Board of Directors of Solarcentury, VIVA Trust, the Presidential Advisory Council of INCAE Business School, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and VIVA Idea and Fundación Avina.

Gabriela Víquez

Gabriela holds an MBA from the Universidad de Costa Rica, experience in mergers and acquisitions and international corporate structuring. She was Commercial Manager of Banca Premier at Banco Nacional de Costa Rica and Sales Manager of the Equity Market and International Markets at Bolsa BN Valores. Currently Corporate Director of Business Development and Managing Director of Cuestamoras.

Jenny Everett

Jenny holds an MBA from the Stern School of Business and a BA from Davidson College and has experience in entrepreneurship, impact investing, philanthropy and more. She was CEO of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), which she actively championed for the past 12 years, and led the entire international team at ANDE. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Villgro USA and FUNDES.

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