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SALTO: Transforming Businesses with Local Knowledge

Cusco, PeruCusco, Peru
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

SALTO trains students to provide customized consultancy services to micro-enterprises (MEs). SALTO´s potential lies in its ability to facilitate entrepreneurship and simultaneously enhance human capital in areas where these factors constitute the heart of the local economy–namely Cusco, Peru.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could unleash the enormous potential of micro-enterprises and students in developing countries?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Although MEs account for 95% of Peruvian enterprises and employ 2/3 of the labor force, the education level of ME managers is below that of the labor force. The World Bank observes that the lack of education among ME managers hampers their productivity. Simultaneously, students´ education is limited to acquiring knowledge but rarely focuses on putting this knowledge into practice in real-world settings, limiting their professional opportunities.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

SALTO believes that improving human capital and the entrepreneurial base requires uniting the best of both worlds. By connecting the two actors, SALTO brings about a mutually beneficial learning process: students receive the opportunity to put their knowledge into practice and entrepreneurs learn, by doing, how to implement solutions tailored specifically to their business and understand the internal and external factors affecting it. In order to ensure the success of the exchange, SALTO offers a training program that enhances the students’ analytical and leadership skills. Finally, students guide the ME owner in the first steps of the strategy´s operationalization, fostering more productive MEs and income for ME owners and their families.


Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

An example of one of our future clients is Mario, a micro-entrepreneur. It was only a few years ago that Mario launched the first artisanal brewery in Cusco. Although business is going well, Mario wants to increase the sales of his business. Doing so requires a cost analysis, a pricing strategy and a marketing plan. Since Mario never received professional business training, he does not know how to do this. SALTO enables Mario to grow his business by connecting him with students that provide consultancy for 3 months. The students previously followed SALTO’s training program, which develops both their hard and soft skills, and are therefore equipped to provide Mario with exceptional strategic advice.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

SALTO’s project will be fully operational starting January 2016. To date, SALTO has started to establish a partnership with a local university and has determined that students are interested in a program of this nature. An informal pilot was carried out to assess the needs of micro entrepreneurs. Lastly, partnerships with consultancies and micro-finance institutions are in the process of being established. SALTO can have a great impact on both micro-enterprises and students. On the one hand, SALTO provides micro-enterprises with the opportunity to grow their business and improve their productivity. On the other, the training program enables students to put their skills into practice and create a positive impact on their community. Thus, by facilitating entrepreneurship and building upon the students´capacity, SALTO opens the door to new business and professional opportunities.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

1. New Service Launch(year 1). Although the core line of service caters to micro-enterprises, SALTO will develop a parallel program that targets SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises). Due to their size and complexity, the SME services are delivered by the founders and best-performing alumni. 2. Expansion Strategy (year 2). The program initially launches in Cusco, yet the model is replicable and scalable to similar contexts. The founders will coach prospective trainers to offer the program to future generations. As a result, SALTO can expand rapidly and be launched in other parts of Latin America.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

While SALTO initially relies on external funding, a hybrid financial structure is adopted over time, so as to become financially independent. The hybrid combines donations with fees received from high-quality consultancy services for SMEs. As their issues are more complex, the founders and alumni deliver this service. SALTO initially offers the program to a handful of SMEs, but eventually aims to generate enough revenues to recover the costs.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Similar projects include incubators, expert advisory (by consultancies and governmental programs), and trainings offered by NGOs/MFIs. However, these are often limited in reach; both geographically and in terms of the size of the businesses that receive advice. Furthermore, these projects are usually not scalable, as they depend on a small pool of trainers. SALTO differs from these approaches, in that it chiefly operates in the interior of Peru (Cusco) and focusses on MEs. Furthermore, through working with and training local students, the model is scalable and able bring together communities.

Founding Story

Through their academic, professional, and international experiences, the founders found that an educated entrepreneurial base constitutes a pivotal source of productivity and sustainable growth. Following Andrea’s return to her home town(Cusco) she noticed the increasing importance of MEs and their strong potential to contribute to the economy. Yet, after engaging with entrepreneurs at a local fair, she also perceived that the realization of this potential is limited by the absence of a strategic vision and knowledge of business fundamentals. The founders discussed this issue and developed the idea to tackle it using a balanced framework that accesses both the strengths of MEs and students.


The founding team consists of two friends Andrea (Peru) and Eveline (The Netherlands). The two met during their undergraduate studies in Economics at Maastricht University, and stayed in touch throughout their graduate studies at Oxford University and the LSE, respectively. Both founders’ skillsets complement one another and constitute the core pillars of SALTO. Andrea is primarily responsible for the liaison with local partners and the SALTO’s setting-up process in Peru. Furthermore, given Andrea’s solid background in leadership development (Yale Pre-MBA) and debating skills (United Netherlands and MUN) she will be in charge of the ‘soft skills’ part of the training program. Eveline is primarily in charge of funding and maintaining the financial overview of the organization. Moreover, her significant research on consultancy methods and work for the United Nations allows her to provide trainings that cover the ‘hard skills’ of the consultancy business. Both Andrea and Eveline will be fully devoted to the SALTO project. As the project grows, SALTO considers to increasingly involve alumni volunteers in the project.