Vencer Juntos (Portuguese for Winning Together) is a non-governmental project that develops entrepreneurial talent among the very poor in Brazil. Poor people, especially those living in isolated regions of the interior, tend to be excluded from the formal job market. Many of them show great creativity in finding a means of survival, taking on odd jobs or starting informal mini businesses in their backyards. Without access to capital and know-how, these mini businesses tend to remain extremely small and precarious. Vencer Juntos believes that it is possible to supply funding and training/consulting to these very small entrepreneurs at a reasonable cost to help them grow and thereby create jobs and raise living standards.
Vencer Juntos is implemented by a partnership of two Brazilian NGOs, Pastoral da Criança (translated: Child Pastorate Program) and Fundação Grupo Esquel Brasil. Pastoral da Criança (Pastoral) is a large and prestigious Brazilian non-governmental organization that already supplies services to the project’s intended client base. Pastoral has built a nation-wide grassroots infrastructure of 260,000 community health workers, volunteers that provide health and nutrition education to almost two million of Brazil’s poorest children. Pastoral has developed a proven methodology of training and supporting these community health volunteers and of reaching out to the poor. These volunteers have had a significant impact on reducing infant mortality in Brazil. Vencer Juntos adapts this methodology to business promotion: we identify and train community business advisors that help fledgling entrepreneurs among the poor develop viable business plans and advise them through the life cycle of their businesses.
Between 2003 and 2010, Vencer Juntos funded over 500 small business start-ups involving over 2.600 poor families. The project operates in eleven microregions in the interior of seven states, and minibusinesses supported to date are located in 116 municipalities.