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A joint partnership in which UNITEC promotes the interconnectedness of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and ZAMORANO contributes the technical advice of its students from all four of its academic departments.

To make available technological solutions for MSMEs in the agricultural and environmental sector of Honduras, students from Zamorano’s recently established Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIEZ) joined students from the Central American Technological University (UNITEC) and entered the Agrotech Challenge: Generation of Innovation and Technological Solutions for the Agricultural Sector.

A total of 78 students (26 from ZAMORANO and 52 from UNITEC) and 13 MSMEs participated in the competition.  They will all benefit by getting access to digital prototypes that will help the digital transformation of their business ventures.

The activity began in August 2021 following a technical exchange between a UNITEC’s TECH4DEV project in collaboration with ZAMORANO students.  The program will conclude in December 2021 with a DEMODAY, a day for the presentation of innovative solutions.

The Agrotech Challenge originated in UNITEC’s Innovation and Technology Management Systems classroom, in collaboration with CIEZ students from Zamorano as expert advisors. All students used their learning spaces to offer innovative solutions to agro-industrial companies.

Marvin Tzirin, a third-year student from ZAMORANO´s Food Science and Technology Department, remarked that this partnership has been a success thanks to the commitment of its three primary partners. “Our role as advisors ranges from analyzing the environment of each of the companies to evaluating proposed solutions. We hold weekly meetings to discuss the possibilities of each case, review each company’s background, and evaluate the weaknesses and strengths of each of the proposed solutions and the vision to be achieved. With this in mind, solutions that support the vision and goals of entrepreneurs are being proposed in a comprehensive manner”, Marvin pointed out.

One of the projects being reviewed is Procacao, a company that sells and distributes machinery for the processing of raw cocoa allowing producers to add value to their product. Innovative solutions were proposed to improve the operation and efficiency of the processing machinery, based on the quality standards of the chocolate production, the newest quality control technologies, and the expected market that final products would reach. Based on all these elements the recommendation was to design and implement a virtual platform through which Procacao could make rental machinery available to users who need it, in addition to making sales.  This would result in Procacao having a greater reach and strengthened relationship with its customers.

“It has definitely been an enriching experience for us since we have been exposed to complex situations that demand critical thinking” Marvin Tzirin added.

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