Contest will reward youth’s ideas that promote entrepreneurship and employment with $6,000

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Translator: Arianna Hernández

Do you have an innovative project in mind that could help promote entrepreneurship and combat unemployment in Guanacaste? You can launch it with a contest from the company Nestlé. It’s called the 2021 Innovathon, geared toward young people between 18 and 29 years old.

Your idea has to fit into one of the four categories that the company established for the contest’s debut: Education, Ecotourism, Agriculture and Planet (you can read more about them at the end of the article). The company in charge of communication for the contest, Nexo PR, told The Voice of Guanacaste that the contest has already received entries from young people from Nicoya, Cañas and Liberia.

The winner in each category will receive $6,000 to get the project started, a laptop, a free course from LEAD University’s Business Essentials program, training and mentoring in entrepreneurship by the Caricaco Foundation, a digital marketing strategy by professionals from U Latina and connection to selected sites from Movistar for six months.

In addition, winners will have the opportunity to compete for an additional $10,000 in the Innovathon regional final, competing with winners from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

You have until May 16 to enter by filling out the form available at

Getting Guanacaste off the Ground

Although the contest is aimed at young people across the country, Nestlé’s public affairs specialist, Elizabeth Valverde, believes that the concentration of services and industries in the Greater Metropolitan Area has limited the creation of employment sources in rural communities.

That, along with the strength and experience that these communities have in sectors like tourism and agriculture, undoubtedly makes young people from these communities ideal candidates to be part of Innovathon,” said Valverde.

The Chorotega Region, in fact, shows the highest unemployment rate in the entire country: 27.1% of the labor force is out of work, which is equivalent to 44,109 unemployed people, according to the latest continuous employment survey (November 2020- January 2021) of the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC- Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos). The Central Region follows with 20.5% and then Brunca with 19.1%.

About the Process

Once entries are closed, the Business Alliance for Development (AED- Alianza Empresarial para el Desarrollo), an ally of the contest, will choose the 10 best proposals for each category, according to a table of criteria that will assess innovation, viability (for example, if there is a prototype, if it describes the target market and the resources that will be needed to implement it), time, implementation phases, impact on the community and scalability.

AED will present the final 40 proposals to a jury made up of members of private businesses, academia, non-governmental organizations, government and Nestlé. They will choose the winning proposal from each category.

The Categories

The categories that your project can fit in are:

  • Education: If your idea promotes digital transformation and employability with trends such as personalized learning, self-guided learning, social learning or the spatial-temporal interdependence of learning scenarios.
  • Ecotourism: If you have an idea for attractive and innovative services that protect resources and also guarantee the safety and comfort of visitors with the new national and international health protocols.
  • Agriculture: If your project supports growth and employability, maintaining health safety measures and environmentally friendly practices.
  • Planet: If your proposal improves green employment, protects and promotes the potential of natural resources, such as clean energy initiatives, smart waste management and ecosystem protection.