Five people named as L. America Social Entrepreneur of the Year

14:09, April 29, 2011      

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Five people received the Latin American Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 awards here Thursday, for their efforts in promoting education, banking, medicine and housing in the region.

"Social entrepreneurs are the driving force behind the innovations that improve the quality of life of individuals around the world," said Mirjam Schoening of the Switzerland-based Schwab Foundation, while announcing the winners' list at the World Economic Forum on Latin America.

Two of this year's winners run education projects. Colombian Felipe Vergara founded Project Lumni, which provides human capital contracts to high-potential students who cannot afford college education, while Chilean Tomas Recart's Ensena project enlisted Chile's top university graduates to teach for two years in low-income communities.

Among the rest of the winners, Brazilian gastroenterologist Roberto Kikawa founded Projeto Cies, which takes high-tech preventive medical care to low income communities. The list also included Venezuelan Banca Comunitaria Banesco who provides banking access to poorer citizens, and Mexican Francesco Piazzesi, whose Echale a Tu Casa project provides sustainable housing for poor communities.

According to Klaus Schwab, co-founder of the Schwab Foundation, Latin America has the highest density of social entrepreneurs in the world.

"These social entrepreneurs that we are recognizing today are essential for the future of the continent, and to improve the state of the world," said Hilde Schwab, chair of the foundation.

Source: Xinhua
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