8 Facts about the Technology Landscape in Honduras
Honduras is home to approximately eight million people and is one of the leading producers of bananas, coffee, and African palm in Central America. It is also one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with more than 66% of the country’s population living in poverty.
Domestic issues such as violence and corruption still plague Honduras, however, the country has started to recover and see some growth. The government of Honduras is focusing on new projects that promote and expand its economy, including those that help its industrial and technology sectors, diversify its agricultural sector, improve transportation, and hydroelectric projects.
Here’s a look at some of the key technology initiatives in Honduras today.
1. Honduras is fertile ground for e-commerce
In Honduras, there are approximately 3.6 million potential e-commerce customers who are using social networks, such as Facebook. According to Visa executive José Lozada, "Honduras is fertile ground for electronic commerce, however, there are barriers to overcome, such as distrust amongst buyers.”
Currently, Honduras represents just 2% of the more than 200 million people making online purchases in Latin America. Ninety percent of consumers still want to be able to touch a product in stores before they decide to buy it. However, with initiatives such as E-Commerce Day, Honduras’ leaders are working hard to push the country’s e-commerce sector forward.
2. The Honduras Startup program supports local entrepreneurs
The Honduras Startup program launched in 2016 to support new technology entrepreneurs. The government- and donor-sponsored program has accelerated hundreds of projects with more than two hundred receiving funding. Innovative companies have emerged from the program, including EduBox, an educational management software, and UniMed, a telemedicine application. CEmprende is another program worth noting that encourages innovation and social entrepreneurship, particularly for rural areas and the agricultural sector.
3. New tech education opportunities are emerging
New programs centered on creating more tech talent are popping up across the country. For example, the Media City Labs Academy provides coding and technology education courses to more than 400 students. Though the program currently offers programs in Honduras only, it plans to evolve into a massive open online course (MOOC). The Instituto Hondureño de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (Hondurian Institute of Science, Technology, and Innovation), has a lab that is working on high technology such as AR, VR, 3D printing, and drones. The school is seeing a rising interest in applied electronics and robotics as well and plans to partner with other schools and universities to teach the technologies as careers.
4. The "Honduras 20/20" national development plan focuses on job growth using technology
The “Honduras 20/20” plan was developed as a joint initiative between the public and private sectors and the international consulting firm McKinsey to generate 600,000 new jobs during a five-year period (2016-2020). The goal will be achieved by promoting four key sectors where Honduras has a substantial competitive advantage: tourism, textiles, intermediate manufacturing and business process outsourcing (BPOs).
The BPO sector in Honduras is strong, and the “Honduras 20/20” plan is to develop and train the country’s bilingual youth on the latest trends in business processing and information technology to generate 50,000 new jobs in this sector alone.
5. Honduras initiates a plan to put the country’s land title registry system on the blockchain
In 2015, the government of Honduras announced an ambitious plan to build the country’s land title registry system using bitcoin technology. Land registries are notoriously inefficient, unreliable, and corrupt in Latin America In Honduras, some government officials have altered the country’s land ownership database to steal property for themselves.
Though cryptocurrencies do not have the backing of the Central Bank in Honduras, plans were announced to partner with Factom, a U.S. blockchain technology company, and Epigraph, a title software company that uses blockchain technology, both based in Austin, Texas to develop a new blockchain-based land registry system.
6. Coworking spaces are connecting the local tech community
Entrepreneurs, freelancers, and digital nomads have plenty of options when it comes to coworking spaces in Honduras. In Tegucigalpa, options include Connect Cowork and Workbox, both centrally-located spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
7. Local startup success stories are on the rise
Honduran startup success stories are the rise. For example, Movitext is an SMS aggregator that provides services across Central and South America. One of the few Honduran fintech startups, iTotalenLinea.com, provides small- and medium-sized businesses low-cost accounting and business management software. Atlas Home is a digital platform for the real estate market that allows buyers and sellers to use tools such as 360 degrees, virtual reality, and reality enhanced property tours.
8. San Pedro Sula is home to a new children’s technology center
In partnership with the Fundación Ficohsa, the Fundación Crece Latinoamérica recently introduced a new technology center at the “República de Japón” kindergarten in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The new technology center is equipped with technological resources to help children strengthen their technical and fine motor skills, enabling a more dynamic teaching-learning process.
To find out more about the technology landscape in Latin America, read our eBook with over 200 facts about the entrepreneurial, business, and tech climates in the region.