By Iñigo Alvarez
Dubai, Dec 16 (EFE).- Uruguayan First Lady Lorena Ponce de León, on a visit Thursday to Expo 2020 Dubai, noted that there were more and more entrepreneurs in her country, especially women, but acknowledged that they “need help” like her “Sembrando” (Sowing) program that provides support to business endeavors.
During an event at Expo Dubai, the first universal exhibition to take place in the Middle East, the wife of President Luis Lacalle Pou told Agencia EFE in an interview that entrepreneurship in Uruguay “is growing,” but that “entrepreneurs need help, especially from professionals who know how to make them take a step further” and, in turn, “generate employment.”
She said the program, an initiative of the Uruguayan Presidency, operates in the country’s 19 departments with a team of 150 volunteer mentors.
The First Lady stressed that about 70% of the program’s participants are women who have been capable of “finding their own way,” and that she has been “pleasantly” surprised to see such “a high number of women eager to start businesses.”
A PRAGMATIC PROGRAM
Launched in 2020, the “Sembrando” program is based on five pillars: assistance to entrepreneurs, training in information technology, business English, social networks and horticulture, the latter being developed in prisons.
The program includes training, but also facilitates the subsequent marketing of a number of quality products for export, some of which have been brought to Dubai,
“Being at the Dubai Expo today is of great importance, because it can open doors to market these high-quality products,” said De León, such as olive oil, jewelry, cutlery, stone crafts and leather works and other fabrics.
She explained the details of the products exhibited to the Director of the American Affairs Department of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alsaghira Al Ahbabi, who visited the Uruguayan pavilion, together with the executive director of the “Sembrando” program, Andrea Bellolio.
With its pavilion at Expo2020, Uruguay seeks to show the public the characteristics of a sustainable and cutting-edge economy at a technological level, at the same time it wants to promote itself as a tourist and investment destination.
“Uruguay needs to be in a showcase like Expo2020,” said Ponce de León, “it is a very small country,” but one in which there are many artisans and where “food products of exceptional quality” are produced that can reach the right market niche.
Videos at the pavilion showed Uruguay as a large food producer with freedom, social equality and quality of life, as well as its advanced educational system like the implementation of the country’s “one laptop per child” Ceibal Plan.
Visitors to the Uruguayan stand can discover the country’s traditional amethysts and, in the soccer corner, contemplate one of the international trophies obtained by Uruguay and a historic ball used in the first World Cup, in 1930, held in the South American country.
The First Lady, who was accompanied by the Uruguayan ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Alvaro Ceriani, and the general commissioner of the Uruguayan pavilion, Sebastián Risso, and its director, Barbara El Dbeissy, was also received by the Emirati Minister of State for Cooperation International and General Director of the Expo, Reem al Hashimi.