Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

PROJECT 60-Panama, when fully implemented, will lead to a more equitable distribution of wealth and economic growth, uplifting lower and middle classes and creating a larger pool of local talent, wealthier consumers, along with increasing funding capacity for enhanced educational programs and the overall well-being of Panama’s citizens.
• Accelerated SME growth rate for participating members resulting in a significant and positive impact on growing employment in Panama.
• A significant increase in trained and skilled workers who are Panamanian citizens, thereby reducing the need for talent coming from outside of Panama. Ultimately, this will increase the worldwide competitiveness of Panama in the worldwide global economy.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Panama, through sound economic management, has grown faster than almost any Latin American economy in recent years, and through a partnership with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the country is striving to ensure the benefits of this prosperity reach its poorest citizens. By relying on a flexible range of lending and technical support from IBRD, Panama was able to achieve results in areas as diverse as providing improved health and nutrition services to 400,000 families in rural areas to streamlining government procurement services and making it easier for Panamanians to start a business. Panama, with a population of approximately 3.5 million, a world famous canal, a modern financial sector, and the economy of an upper-middle income country remained a nation of stark contrasts. Most notable was the high degree of inequality, perpetuated by educational disparities, differential access to basic services, and wide discrepancies in productivity and incomes. As the Bank approached a new Country Partnership Strategy for the fiscal years 2008-10, Panama continued to face the following challenges: keeping the economy growing at high rate; helping the poor and vulnerable participate in the economy and benefit from its strong growth; increasing the efficiency and transparency of the Government; and improving the lives of poorer Panamanians through better health, nutrition, and education. Over 2004-2006, the Panamanian economy grew on average at 7.5 percent per year driven by a healthy global economy, and facilitated by internal reforms and macroeconomic discipline. The expectation in approaching the FY2008-10 support strategy was that it would continue to grow at a similar pace. The prospects for growth were underpinned by the decision to expand the Panama Canal, with investments close to 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The challenge for the Government was to derive the greatest profit from these opportunities, generating income and employment, particularly for the poor and vulnerable. The relatively high levels of poverty in Panama were not due to lack of social spending, but rather to inadequate targeting and the inefficiency of Government programs. Panama was spending 17 percent of GDP in the social sectors, above other countries in Latin America, but its outcomes were not in line with such levels of expenditure. Social assistance spending, around one percent of GDP, had historically gone to universal subsidies including price subsidies for electricity and piped water, services traditionally out of reach to the poor in Panama. In addition, rural poverty has and continues to put pressure on the country's natural resource base in unsustainable ways. The other challenges facing Panama included: providing and maintaining infrastructure, educating the population, supporting innovation, and regulating efficiently. In addition to its partnership with the World Bank, the Government has been in close dialogue with multilateral and bilateral partners, such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Andean Development Corporation, the European Commission, agencies of the United Nations, as well as bilateral agencies from the US, Japan, and Spain. The IDB and the World Bank are jointly supporting the Red de Oportunidades program. New operations such as the Metro Water and Sanitation Improvement Project will be implemented jointly and coordinated closely with IDB and Andean Development Corporation in the new Bank Country Partnership Strategy with the Government.

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

• Organize qualified small business owners to help grow their businesses. • Create a targeted interactive program requiring their fully engaged participation for success. • Encourage a heightened level of cooperation, collaboration and coordination between technical service providers, incubators and public- and private-sector entities, all sharing the goal of increasing successful contract results for small business firms. • Advocate on behalf of small businesses as they seek increased contracting results within the public and private business sectors. • Ensure that resources such as banking, financial and risk-related services, administrative, and the related infrastructure are made openly available to small business firms. • Maintain complete transparency and accountability as we seek to better assess and evaluate what works and what does not relative to small business advocacy and outreach.
Impact: How does it Work

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

• Assists SME (small minority enterprise) in acceleration of business management skills, involving a strong and continuous focus on improving small business infrastructure issues of internal accounting and administrative systems. • Develops an agreed upon model for collaboration with large corporations and the public-private sector for targeted set-aside contract opportunities designated for enrolled members or approved joint-venture partners. • Develops a strong program for collaboration for sub-contracts and collaboration between the enrolled members encouraging purchasing and awards of services and products by and between the enrolled members. • Works with UNPYME’s small and micro enterprises to double their collective gross sales over a five (5) year period. • Assists SME s and public-private sector leadership in developing specific contract targets, standards of performance and accountability to assure contracting success through full implementation of agreed upon processes, procedures and best practices for all participating parties. • Provides organization, training and marketing skills to approximately 73 SME in the IT, logistics, construction, hotel and service industries in Panama. • Screens and qualifies SME participating firms to assure institutional, public-private sector partners that qualified, well-trained, accountable and dependable contracting partners relative to contract opportunities are being presented. • Provides mentors-advisors to PROJECT 60-Panama SME -enrolled members to assist them in understanding how to be competitive and capable in the bidding on project opportunities from within the public-private sector. • Develops a database of training materials, tips and advice on best practices and online tutorials meeting industry standards. • Connects small business owners to each other, emphasizing the power of teaming to gain larger contracts than what they might receive on their own. • Fosters peer-to peer learning to improve basic skills of enrolled members. racks results of the progress and performance of enrolled members, providing full disclosure, transparency and reporting to enrolled members and public-private sector participating partners. • Facilitates forums for advocacy and effective communication, collaboration and cooperation between SMEs and participating leadership from public-private leadership i.e. government, large corporations. Forums will emphasize ongoing training, networking, skills development for success of all participating partners. • Works with Technical Small Business Incubators to establish training programs for targeted, specific occupations to assure an ongoing pool of skilled talent coming into the community. Provide training in how to write bid specifications that are small business friendly and cost competitive. • Establish agreed upon reporting forms that track and measure contract awards, performance and client satisfaction for work performed. • Establishes guidelines for volunteers to work closely with SMEs on issues of administration, accounting and sales and marketing infrastructure systems.
About You
National Union of Small & Medium Enterprise (UNPYME)
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

National Union of Small & Medium Enterprise (UNPYME)

Organization Country

, PA

Country where this project is creating social impact

, PA

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

Share the story of the founder and what inspired the founder to start this project

In December 2009, L. David Tyner III, Managing Member of PROJECT60, LLC,
visited Panama for the first time. Tyner was interested in Panama’s investment and tourist potential. At the time of his visit, Tyner was a Board Member and Trustee of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors. He had also served two terms as a Commissioner, Commission on African-American Affairs, for Washington State Governors, Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire.
During his stay in Panama, Tyner met with representatives of the Panamanian
Chamber of Commerce to discuss business and trade opportunities, and cross
cultural, educational and technology issues of interest to both Panama and
Washington State leadership.

Tyner and Pineda have developed a strong friendship built upon a desire to develop a legacy of creating and implementing positive economic change for the citizens of Panama’s various economic sectors.
Pineda and Tyner have now worked closely to identify effective business solutions to core issues of concern relative to the public-private sector in Panama—along with Tyner’s close friend and copartner in PROJECT60, Mr. Lincoln Ferris. We believe the program of change we are proposing to the leadership in Panama, PROJECT60-Panama is well-reasoned, and researched. It is our belief it will be a catalyst for major economic and social benefit to the country of Panama and its citizens.

Social Impact
Please describe how your project has been successful and how that success is measured

Project 60 Accomplishments:
•Developed a strong focus on building improved small business infrastructure in the areas of:
–Internal accounting procedures
–Efficient communication
–Administrative systems, sales and marketing programs
•Developed critical face-to-face meetings between small, minority-owned business owners and major prime contractor representatives from major construction firms such as McKinstry Mechanical, Walsh Construction, Kiewitt Construction and others. These meetings allowed for personal introductions and confidence building among the parties, as well as presentations on safety meetings and a pursuit of excellence in achieving and surpassing industry standards.
•Developed direct communications with representatives from major Washington State agencies such as Washington State, Department of General Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, the Port of Seattle and others with small, minority-owned businesses participating in these programs. Both construction and design firms benefited from these trust building, networking and training outreach sessions.
•Contractors were trained on procedures to more effectively communicate, collaborate and cooperate with each other to gain larger contracts and contracts which by themselves they might not have been strong enough to win.

How many people have been impacted by your project?

1,001- 10,000

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

How will your project evolve over the next three years?

•PROJECT 60-Panama would provide a pool of qualified, dependable and capable contractors committed to meeting industry standards of performance.
•PROJECT 60-Panama would provide a public website which would profile each participating SME enrolled member’s capabilities, including their history of past performance.
•Large corporations will be more able to identify, recruit, train and retain top talent emanating from PROJECT60-Panama programs.
•Recognition by Panama’s citizens that large corporations commitment and dedication to uplifting and improving the economic and social well being of working class citizens is being implemented.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project and how do you plan to overcome them?

-The first barrier is the business culture where large corporations feels like they are independent from the rest of the business community in terms of social responsibility. We'll need to identify senior leaders within large corporations and recruit them as mentors for the program.
-The second barrier is the lack of political will to promote new policies and structural changes on behalf of the SME's. We'll identify some political leaders and recruit them as mentors for the program.
-The third barrier is the needs of funds to run our pilot project. We'll apply for IADB grants, government grants and international donors.

Tell us about your partnerships

Participating corporations full commitment to meeting the agreed upon PROJECT60-Panama requirements would provide a better trained, motivated and productive pool of workers for large corporations.
-Agree to establish a annual minimum percentage level of contract opportunities set aside specifically for PROJECT60-Panama SME-enrolled members to compete on. The most qualified PROJECT60-Panama firm will be awarded the contract after competing against other enrolled members.
In the event there are no enrolled member able to effectively qualify on their own, a joint venture allowing for 51 percent ownership and performance of the contract by the enrolled member firm, in connection with a joint venture agreement with a large firm shall be deemed acceptable. An early notification system will be established and monitored that allows PROJECT60-Panama staff and enrolled members to be made aware of future contract opportunities in the same manner and time frame as large corporations.
-Agree to collaborate, communicate and cooperate in a clear, transparent and reasonable manner with PROJECT60-Panama staff and enrolled members in the monitoring and tracking of contract awards, performance and payment issues related to contracts awarded.
-Agree to the establishment and ongoing implementation of an ombudsman committee to facilitate disputes between the parties in a respectful, timely and professional manner. The panel shall be constituted of members deemed completely impartial and with no conflicting self-dealings or self
interests. The panel shall be empowered to act as arbitrator and the panels findings must be accepted by all parties as the final decision, and forego legal litigation in the courts.
-Large corporations agree to pay an annual fee yet to be determined and designate a senior level employee as a corporate contact for communicating and cooperating with PROJECT60-Panama participating parties as agreed.
- Connect SMEs to resources in banking, bonding, accounting and shared purchasing.
- Commitment by government and prime contractors to increase participation by SME's.
- The National Council of Private Enterprise will partner with us as outreach partner within the private sector and the government.
-The Foundation for Economic and Social Development of Panama will partner with us as the Think Tank for the development of new policies.

Explain your selections

Requirements for Participating SME-Enrolled Members:
• Enrolled members agree to pay an annual fee of $20.00.
• Attendance of at least 70 percent of all agreed upon training, networking and educational program events. Members would need to participate in at least 2 hours weekly of either training, education, networking programs put on by either PROJECT60-Panama staff, or participating Technical Small Business Incubators or those put on by participating public-private sector partners.
• Complete monthly Self Reporting Questionnaires as agreed. This will allow for increased ability to track and record the progress and success of the SME and participating partners.
• Communicate, collaborate and cooperate with fellow enrolled PROJECT60-Panama members staff and public-private sector leadership representatives as agreed.
• Adherence and compliance with PROJECT60-Panama’s code of ethics.
• Agree to participate in the decisions on disputes of performance, payment emanating from contracts being identified as PROJECT60-Panama-related, as deemed final by the Omsbudman Committee noted herein.

How do you plan to strengthen your project in the next three years?

PROJECT60-Panama would lift all economic sectors of Panama. It would create greater revenues for funding new and more creative approaches to a more educated citizenry, to crime reduction and to a more talented globally competitive workforce.
-Increasing the number of Large Corporations and SME´s participating in the program.
-Defining the amount of the fee for large corporations participating in the program.

Which barriers to employment does your innovation address?
Please select up to three in order of relevancy to your project.


Need for regulatory/policy support


Lack of skills/training


Inadequate transparency

Please describe how your innovation specifically tackles the barriers listed above.

•Commitment to the establishment and ongoing participation with peer groups and Advisory Board of Directors to identify both challenges and solutions for the ongoing survival and growth of small firms in their respective industries.
•Commitment to continuous education of the business owners, key staff and employees to achieve excellence and mastery of their specific industry occupations.
•Commitment to implementation of the most effective accounting and administration procedures the small business owners can afford.
•Commitment to a code of ethics which reflect a strong adherence to respect and professionalism at the highest levels of the organization as they interact with each fellow member and the community at large.

Are you trying to scale your organization or initiative?
If yes, please check up to three potential pathways in order of relevancy to you.


Influenced other organizations and institutions through the spread of best practices



Grown geographic reach: Multi-country

Please describe which of your growth activities are current or planned for the immediate future.

-Submit a business plan for IADB grants program.
- Promote the project among the senior leadership from the Private sector, the Government and the Academia.
- Fundraise from international donors.

Do you collaborate with any of the following: (Check all that apply)

Government, Technology providers, NGOs/Nonprofits, For profit companies, Academia/universities.

If yes, how have these collaborations helped your innovation to succeed?

I do collaborate with all these organism and some of them are helping us to promote PROJECT 60 - PANAMA.
At this stage of the program we are trying to sum allies from the government, the business community and the academia.