Judging now underway to select 28 Salvadoran and Guatemalan businesses.
BEBE photo



Recognizing that jobs created by fast-growing Salvadoran and Guatemalan businesses are one of the best ways to help El Salvador and Guatemala thrive, the U.S. Embassies in San Salvador and Guatemala City, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in Washington, DC, and the U.S.-based non-profit organization Bpeace (Business Council for Peace) will launch a new program in 2014.

The Bpeace Executive Business Exchange program will benefit 18 small and medium-sized businesses in El Salvador and 10 small and medium-sized businesses in Guatemala, and will include travel to the United States to improve competitiveness and business consulting from U.S. experts who will visit Central America.



More than 240 Salvadoran and Guatemalan businesses applied for the program. Nearly 160 met the initial requirements. The Bpeace jury is presently scoring the applications and will select between 50 and 60 semifinalists to interview in late January or early February in both countries.

If you submitted an application, we cannot advise you of the status of your application during the scoring period. You will hear from us no later than February 15, 2014.

The Bpeace jury is scoring the applications based on the following questions and general criteria. Bpeace will then rank all the online applications and prioritize a qualified pool of 50-60 semifinalists to be interviewed.

Growth potential and opportunities
Is the candidate’s business in a growing industry sector?
What is the candidate’s business growth potential?
What realistic opportunities has the candidate identified for the business?
How will the candidate’s expansion plans increase employment?

Leadership and management structure
Does the candidate’s business have adequate leadership and management structure to accelerate and support growth?
If the business owner is unable to travel, what leadership and decision-making power does the person who will represent the firm on the U.S. trip possess?

Match with U.S. businesses and experts
Can a trip to the United States and consulting by U.S. experts provide resources for the candidate’s business to overcome its challenges?

Does the candidate’s firm have ongoing practices and policies that benefit its employees, environment or community?
How does the candidate’s business promote the economic empowerment of women?



A local Bpeace representative will contact each of the 50-60 semifinalists through email and/or phone to schedule an on-site interview with one or more Bpeace representatives at the candidate’s place of business. The interview team may also include a representative from the U.S. Embassy and/or a visiting U.S. expert.

Bpeace encourages semifinalists to be open regarding their business’s plans, problems and opportunities so that it can be determined if the trip and U.S. expert consulting will meet candidates’ expectations. Business owners can expect a friendly and professional conversation in Spanish lasting approximately two hours. If the business owner has designated a Representative to travel to the United States, this person must also be present during the interview and prepared to conduct part of the conversation in English.

The interview will cover, validate and, most importantly, expand on the same areas mentioned above on the online application. After the meeting, the interviewers will score the interview independently.



The 18 Salvadoran and 10 Guatemalan firms with the highest combined application and interview scores will be invited to participate in the Bpeace Executive Business Exchange (BEBE). Finalists and non-finalists will receive formal notifications by email.

Formal notification for the Finalists will include the assigned cohort number and dates of U.S. travel.

Should Bpeace conclude that there are not enough qualified candidates to fill the 14 seats for Group 2, it will conduct a second open competition for BEBE applications in 2014.

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