A profile of entrepreneurial leadership in Honduras
Recognizing Carlos Urmeneta, iDE Honduras Country Director, 2010 – 2019
For over a decade, Carlos Urmeneta championed the entrepreneurial spirit of smallholder farmers as iDE’s Country Director in Honduras. Although he recently stepped down from that position to pursue a Masters of International Service degree at American University in Washington, DC, his legacy of achievement is a testament to his determination, perseverance, and flexibility.
A native Honduran, Carlos received his BA from the University of Mobile in Alabama, where he first developed his areas of expertise in international business and management. After college, Carlos worked in oilseed operations in Paraguay and sustainable coffees in Honduras for Switzerland-based ECOM Agroindustrial, where he learned firsthand how private-sector partnerships could improve the livelihoods of rural communities throughout the different value chains. In 2008, he led the largest sustainable coffee initiative in Latin America into winning the Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). Working side by side with farmers, Carlos learned the vital importance of developing value chains, providing access to markets, farmer finance, climate resilience mitigation, and agriculture technology design (micro-drip systems, etc.).
After collaborating with iDE and learning about its market-based approach to eradicating poverty, Carlos—an entrepreneur by nature—thought iDE was the perfect platform to carry on his mission for development. As the first country director for iDE's Honduras office, Carlos led the program's successful growth and was a leader for sustainable development partners in the region.
Recognizing that his community was vulnerable to climate shocks, Carlos focused on building resilience, particularly as concerned with water. To protect water at the source, Carlos and team expanded the accessibility of climate-smart technologies and best practices and collaborated with the community to develop water governance.
To address this issue, iDE Honduras and partners, with funding from the Swiss Cooperation in Honduras designed and launched the Community-led Watershed Management Program of the Goascorán river-basin (Nuestra Cuenca). iDE, through an integrated water resource management approach and by working closely to organize and strengthen the watershed councils, reached 5,000 families with training on climate change resilience, food security, and promotion and adoption of technologies which enabled them to become more productive and more resilient to climate change. To catalyze this project, iDE partnered with the Whole Foods´ Whole Planet Foundation to create micro-loans that would allow families receiving training from iDE to make investments to become more climate smart and resilient. (See blog post by Whole Planet Foundation)
iDE is proud to have had Carlos Urmeneta on our team and we expect to see even greater things in his future as he begins this next phase in his life and continues to pursue his passion for sustainable enterprises and protection of our global environment.
During Carlos’ tenure as Country Director for iDE in Honduras, the program achieved the following:
Scale = 25,200 Households Impacted (2009 - 2019)
Individuals = 123,842 People Impacted (2009 - 2019)
Annual Impact = $235 per Household (average from 2017 -2019)
Benefit-to-Cost Ratio = 3.3 (average from 2017 -2019)