Peru’s economy has been steadily growing over the last 5 years and things are getting better for more and more people. This is good news in particular for a country that had to overcome terrorism and severe economic hardship. However, while things are getting better, recent surveys show that young people, in particular in rural Peru, are not satisfied with democracy and the market economy. In response to this the Peruvian think tank Instituto Invertir launched LíderAcción, a leadership and entrepreneurship program for university students from rural Peru.
This program, now in its second year, has had a tremendous impact on improving the youth’s perceptions of a market economy and democracy. Before the program, for example, only 21% of the students preferred democracy to another form of government, after the program this number increased to 46%. Also before the program, 69% of students felt that free market competition only favored large companies, whereas after the program that number decreased to 49%.
Another important impact of the program was helping students to achieve their dream of starting their own businesses. Working in groups, students developed 47 business plans for community development projects. Of these plans, a total of 12 businesses are currently in operation, and 5 more are in the start-up process. After completing the program, students have been encouraged to stay active by taking their knowledge and experience back to their home communities. Already, they have conducted leadership and entrepreneurial workshops in more than 13 cities, reaching more than 3,500 students.
Invertir’s LíderAcción program was recently recognized by the Atlas Economic Research Foundation with a Templeton Freedom Award for Excellence in Promoting Liberty for its extraordinary work in the Student Outreach Category. The video above highlights some of the most important successes from this remarkable program.