Ana Tan has been our coordinator in Peru since 2013. An industrial engineer, she worked in the private sector, government and NGOs before joining Swisscontact in 2001 to design and monitor development projects.
Even after all these years as SEC coordinator, she very much appreciates the exchange with the experts and is interested in learning how they work and think. In addition, the assignments give her an insight into how Peruvian entrepreneurs face the challenges for their businesses and how they have grown despite all the difficulties.
The SEC in Peru
Since Ana started working for the SEC, she has accompanied over 40 SEC assignments. So far, most of our SEC assignments in Peru have been in the food industry. Many assignments have been with companies in the dairy, chocolate and confectionery, Andean grains and bread and bakery sectors.
As technical advice is difficult to access in Peru, most micro and small enterprises, regardless of sector, need advice. In addition to specific technical aspects, there are also certain areas within a business that require advice regardless of the sector. These include cost optimisation, marketing strategies, improving teamwork or finances. Advice in these areas may not be obvious, but it can add great value to a company.
We also believe that advice related to environmental protection is likely to be of increasing interest to companies. For example, advice on the efficient use of water, on reducing pollution or waste, and on complying with legal regulations and rules to avoid sanctions would be conceivable. These are all topics that, with the focus on cost savings, are also economically attractive for the companies, as they ultimately also enable more profit.
So far, the activities of the SEC programme in Peru have mainly focused on the big cities. However, thanks to the valuable and positive experience gained from the remote and mixed assignments, the possibility has developed to also consider companies in areas that are difficult to access or in regions far away from the urban centres. The SEC would like to take advantage of this opportunity and increase its activity in these areas.
Experiences with SEC assignments
Ana’s experience is that the transfer of knowledge is supported by the experts’ working methods. All experts plan their assignments with the help of a tool: This can be a very detailed tool on an Excel sheet or a simple graph on a PowerPoint slide. It is important that the experts stick to the plan agreed with the client.
Again and again, they are impressed by the values that our SEC experts live by. For example, respect for consumers when they say that entrepreneurs must use good manufacturing and hygiene practices when making their products. Or teamwork, when they say that what is learned must be passed on to all workers in the company.
Among all the SEC assignments Ana has accompanied, one at a confectionery manufacturer is particularly memorable to her: Thanks to the technical advice of the SEC expert, this client managed to increase productivity by 130%.
Probably the most challenging situation for Ana arose when an SEC expert had to be transferred to a clinic in Lima for health reasons during the mission. Fortunately, he recovered and returned safely to Switzerland.
In summary, working at SEC gives Ana the opportunity to meet valuable, dedicated people and experience their passion for supporting others.
When asked what makes Peru so unique, Ana answers: “Peru is a country with immense natural and cultural wealth: beaches and seafood, a mountain range that holds valuable deposits of minerals and natural gas and lots of superfoods, and the Amazon jungle with its flora and fauna unique in the world..”
Facts & Figures Peru
|Area in km2||1.28 million km2
|Language(s)||Spanish and 48 indigenous languages
|Conducted SEC assignments since 1997
|Assignment main industries
||Food (29%), Tourism (23%), Education (11%)
|Swisscontact in Peru||Since 1966
5 projects are currently running
Learn more about Swisscontact’s activities in Peru:
Peru – Countries – Site