50 Years of Lasting Change

From inspiration in Ghana to transformation around the world, TechnoServe has deepened its impact over the last five decades. Take a look back at TechnoServe's journey.

1968
TechnoServe is founded

After a year of volunteer service in Adidome, Ghana, Ed Bullard is captivated by the spirit and character of the Ghanaian people. With $15,000 and a desk in a New York City office building, he founds TechnoServe on a commitment “to promote – in the underdeveloped areas of the world – the establishment of viable commercial and industrial enterprises, which will most directly meet the needs of low-income groups for economic well-being and an improved standard of living.”

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1969
TechnoServe breaks ground on its first enterprise

TechnoServe helps to launch its first enterprise, a poultry feed mill in La Ceiba, Honduras. The mill allows local farmers and entrepreneurs to add value to their long-grain rice food products, improving incomes and creating new market opportunities for the community. By 1973 the mill is completely turned over to local management, who continue operations independently.

1972
TechnoServe embarks on a lasting journey in Kenya

TechnoServe begins working in Kenya, helping to establish the Oteina grain mill processing plant and providing training to farming cooperatives in the country’s semi-arid regions. By 1974, these cooperatives are profitable and reinvesting in their businesses, and Kenya will go on to become one of TechnoServe’s largest, and second-oldest, country platforms in continuous operation.

1977
TechnoServe provides support to enterprises in five countries

TechnoServe, which is now operating on a budget over $1 million, begins operations in El Salvador and is now providing technical support to five countries across Africa and Latin America. Staff begin to expand services to larger enterprises across diverse sectors in an effort to generate greater impact for more people in the communities where they work.

1978
John Caron is elected Chairman

John Caron, a founding member of TechnoServe’s Board of Directors since 1970, is elected as the organization’s Chairman. During his tenure from 1978 to 1992, the organization expands from four countries to 13, and annual revenue grows from $1.4 million to $7.3 million.

John was a tireless advocate for rigorous impact measurement. John also was a founding member of the Audit Committee, providing critical oversight of TechnoServe’s financial management.

John retired in 2015 after 46 years of service on the Board. To honor John and his many important contributions, TechnoServe created the John B. Caron Impact Award, awarded each year to the TechnoServe country program that generated the greatest amount of financial benefits for our clients.

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1980
El Salvador’s agrarian reform provides challenges and opportunities for rural development

After a decade-long civil war, El Salvador’s government begins distributing large land holdings to farmer cooperatives, creating an urgent need for management advice and training. TechnoServe works with cooperatives like Plan de Amayo to create profitable enterprises with the potential to offer a sustainable, peaceful future for El Salvador’s rural communities.

1983
TechnoServe invests in cooperatives for widespread impact

Focusing on the ability of cooperatives to spark expansive growth for local economies, TechnoServe revises its statement of corporate purpose, emphasizing that it is “Technoserve’s purpose to improve the economic and social well-being of low-income people in developing countries through the community-based enterprise development process, which increases jobs, income, and productivity. TechnoServe accomplishes this by providing management technical assistance and training to enterprises and institutions, primarily related to the agricultural sector.”

1984
TechnoServe takes farmers online in Costa Rica

TechnoServe launches its first programs in Costa Rica, where staff help a chayote-growing cooperative to become the first farmer organization in the country to use a computerized accounting system.

1988
TechnoServe celebrates its 20th anniversary with a campaign to end world hunger

Twenty years after launching its first project supporting a milling business in Honduras, TechnoServe now has 180 employees, 9 country platforms, and an operating budget of $7 million. TechnoServe launches a campaign called the World Harvest Fund, which is overseen by a council of leaders committed to overcoming world hunger, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug and former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara.

1990
Ed Bullard wins the John W. Gardner Leadership Award from Independent Sector

A spokesperson for Independent Sector said, “Edward Bullard’s unswerving dedication to TechnoServe’s mission, his strong sense of compassion for the poor, and his total integrity, provide him with an undeniable force of character. His leadership, moral fiber, and devotion to the job sets an example others cannot help but learn from and follow.”

1990
TechnoServe boosts exports in Guatemala

TechnoServe opens country platforms in Guatemala and Nigeria, expanding operations to a total of 13 countries. In Guatemala, TechnoServe helps open the Flor Patzuner cooperative, supporting them to turn a profit of $20,000 through the export of nearly 500,000 of snow peas.

1991
TechnoServe receives the Presidential End Hunger Award

The award, which is granted by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the White House, honors “American citizens and institutions that have made significant contributions to the goal of a world without hunger.”

1991
TechnoServe partners with actors to raise awareness of global poverty

Actor Cliff Robertson narrates several TechnoServe television ads and a short film focused on raising awareness about global poverty.

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1992
Paul E. Tierney, Jr. becomes Chairman

A returned Peace Corps volunteer and co-founder and general partner of several investment partnerships, Paul E. Tierney, Jr. is elected Chairman of the Board, and continues to serve in this role through 2018. During Paul’s 27-year tenure, TechnoServe emerged as a leading development organization, growing in size, sophistication, and impact. The budget grew from $7.3 million to $88 million and TechnoServe extended its reach from 13 to 29 countries.

As the organization grew, Paul led efforts to expand the Board of Directors and strengthen the organization’s management structure. Paul encouraged diversification of funding sources, including forging innovative partnerships with some of the world’s leading corporations. Paul’s commitment to partnerships and high-quality program implementation helped foster the development of the Fellows Program.

Paul is stepping down as Chairman of the Board at the end of 2018 but will remain on the Board as Chairman Emeritus.

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1994
TechnoServe begins working with rural farmers in Peru

We encourage the cultivation of non-traditional export crops such as cotton, citrus fruits, asparagus, and mangos which do not exhaust soil like traditional crops of rice and maize.

1996
Peter A. Reiling becomes President and CEO

After 28 years, Ed Bullard steps down as President of TechnoServe. Peter A. Reiling,  co-founder of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs, fills the role for the next eight years.

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1996
TechnoServe Volunteer Consultant Program launches in Peru

Matthew Tierney and Eric Sillman become the first TechnoServe Fellows, formerly known as Volunteer Consultants, contributing their business skills in the field to help people lift themselves out of poverty. Over the next two decades, more than 1,000 Fellows go on to work with full-time staff on 3 to 12-month assignments to advance TechnoServe’s mission and impact.

Learn more about TechnoServe Fellows.

1997
President Clinton visits TechnoServe’s office in Ghana

President Bill Clinton visits TechnoServe’s office in Ghana and meets with maize farmers, cashew processors, and other TechnoServe clients. Two months later, First Lady Hillary Clinton tours TechnoServe’s program in Panama.

“The reason I wanted to be here is because both TechnoServe and our Peace Corps volunteers are working to help Africans help themselves to become healthier, better educated, more prosperous – simply speaking, better equipped to dream their own dreams and make them come true.” – President Bill Clinton in Accra, Ghana.

2002
Mozambique becomes a leading cashew-processing nation after years of war

After five years working to foster economic growth in Mozambique as it emerges from a decade-long war, TechnoServe staff focuses on the cashew industry as a driver of rural development throughout the country. TechnoServe works with local entrepreneurs to launch cashew processing businesses that are able to source high-quality nuts from local growers and process them for export at higher prices. Over the next four years, Mozambique advances from processing zero cashew nuts to processing almost half of its production, making it one of the largest processors in Africa.

2002
El Salvador hosts first-ever national business plan competition

TechnoServe and local partners lead ¡Emprende tu Idea!, El Salvador’s first-ever national business plan competition, and TechnoServe’s first large-scale competition in Latin America. The initiative provided finalists with mentoring and access to credit, helping to launch or expand 238 businesses and create 1,500 new jobs in multiple countries across Latin America.

2003
Revitalizing the Coffee Industry

TechnoServe works with the Tanzanian government to revitalize the coffee industry by developing more efficient manufacturing and purchasing systems throughout the country. Tanzania’s Minister of Finance, the Honorable Basil Mramba, said, “The Tanzanian coffee industry is on a slow but sure road to recovery, as it takes time to fully convert farmers from old habits and practices. We thank TechnoServe for the critical role they have played in this achievement.”

2004
Bruce NcNamer becomes President and CEO

A former Peace Corps Volunteer, White House Fellow at the National Economic Forum, management consultant, and founder of technology startups, Bruce McNamer joins TechnoServe as President and CEO in 2004, where he serves for nine years in this role.

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2007
Financial Times ranks TechnoServe among world’s top 5 NGOs

A special report on corporate citizenship and philanthropy in the Financial Times rates TechnoServe as one of the world’s top non-governmental organizations, placing it fourth on the basis of business partnerships.

2008
TechnoServe launches the Coffee Initiative

With an initial $47 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Coffee Initiative launches in East Africa. Over its two phases, the program supports 340 cooperative wet mills to improve the quality of their coffee and access quality markets, increasing the average price of every kilogram of coffee exported by $1.54. The initiative benefited 267,987 farmers, increasing their incomes by an average of 27 percent.

2010
Partners bring hope to Haitian farmers

The Coca-Cola Company, TechnoServe, IDB, and other public and private partners launch the Haiti Hope Project to increase the incomes of 25,000 mango farmers and help revitalize the economy of the after the devastating earthquake

2011
TechnoServe partners to help thousands of rural youth create employment opportunities in East Africa

TechnoServe and The Mastercard Foundation partner to help rural young women and men in East Africa transition to economic independence through TechnoServe’s flagship youth program, Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE). By equipping youth with the skills and knowledge to capitalize on economic opportunities and increase their incomes, the project’s first four-year phase helps more than 15,500 young women and men to gain or create gainful employment, increasing their incomes by an average of 133 percent. By 2014 the project begins working with institutional partners such as vocational schools, universities, civil society organizations, and prisons – entities that routinely reach thousands of young people, and can continue training activities well after STRYDE’s official end.

2013
TechnoServe and Nespresso build a more sustainable coffee industry

TechnoServe and Nespresso launch a partnership in East Africa to improve the livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers while creating a more sustainable source of supply for Nespresso. The initiative focuses on three countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan. In Ethiopia and Kenya, the partnership provides farming and business support to smallholder farmers and helps build stronger supply chain linkages. In South Sudan, the effort focuses on helping farmers to rebuild the coffee industry after decades of conflict. Over its first four years, the partnership delivers training to more than 30,000 farmers, teaching them the skills to sustainably increase their production and improve the quality of their crop.

2014
William Warshauer joins TechnoServe as CEO

Bringing more than 25 years of experience in international development and the private sector to his position, William Warshauer becomes TechnoServe’s fourth president and CEO.

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2015
President Obama tours TechnoServe project in Ethiopia

President Obama visits Faffa Food plant, a business supported by TechnoServe and Partners in Food Solutions in Ethiopia, highlighting a unique public-private partnership that promotes nutrition and food security in Africa.

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2016
TechnoServe and partners win the P3 Impact Award

Project Nurture is honored with the prestigious P3 Impact Award, which recognizes the world’s most innovative and impactful public-private partnerships. A collaboration between TechnoServe, Coca-Cola and the Gates Foundation, Project Nurture developed an innovative shared value solution to challenges in East Africa’s fruit market.

TechnoServe’s Dickson Mbando, Program Director for Project Nurture, accepts the P3 Impact Award at the Concordia Summit on September 20, 2016.

2018
TechnoServe celebrates 50 years of lasting change

The organization reflects on its legacy and the work that lies ahead. Partners, supporters, and staff prepare to celebrate a shared vision to elevate economic opportunity and end poverty around the world at a gala event on October 10.

1968
2018
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