“We were born after several storms,” explains Atlas Network partner Econintech, a think tank based in Barquisimeto, capital city of the north Venezuelan state of Lara. After six turbulent decades of socialism in Venezuela, the economic, political, and social crisis there seems to intensify every day. Econintech is working to change things by bringing practical skills to entrepreneurs, offering training and certification in “finance, economics, accounting, engineering, mathematics, management, computing, personal growth, and eventually languages,” with a special focus on how economic freedom allows these skills to flourish within a prosperous society.
“Our think tank is committed to demonstrating — through education and a direct approach to people — the need of a constitutional and institutional change to enshrine economic freedom as an inalienable right of citizens, as well as other non-exclusionary social and political reforms in order to boost prosperity,” Luis Cirocco, who founded and directs Econintech with Rafael Acevedo. “Our work is relevant because it is intended to cover people from all social classes. A think tank inspiring political action, based upon the ideals of free markets and civil-political freedom in a country devastated by socialism for almost 60 years, is highly needed to contribute to creating a critical mass of well-educated people.”
Founded in early 2016, Econintech already offers an extensive series of training and certification courses. Its economics and business management courses alone include public finance and budgets, international trade, operations and financial management, negotiation techniques, investment strategies, human development, statistics and probability, financial statements, micro- and macroeconomic analysis, economic development, quantitative methods, computational finance, and much more. Econintech also offers a wide variety of applied networking and computer science courses, and even an introductory trigonometry course.
Econintech’s conference “Venezuela: From Miracle to Disaster in Half a Century.”
The practical, hands-on training that Econintech provides is also complemented with a strong focus on the ideas of liberty and economic freedom. Econintech’s directors point out that one of their biggest challenges is overcoming “the tremendous bias, contrary to free markets, instilled by political elites through the educational system and media,” so they consider their “Road to Prosperity” educational project to be a key factor in the organization’s success. Despite its limited budget in 2016, its three “Road to Prosperity” conferences attracted more than 400 attendees.
“With our think tank, a common student attending public or private education (both are centrally planned by political elites) will have the chance to learn a different perspective on the real cause of prosperity, contrast this with what is taught in academia, and — inspired by the inclusive principles and hands-on activities that Econintech disseminates — take action to spread the message over their communities and universities, and to demand a profound institutional change towards freedom to the current political and economic elites,” Cirocco continues. “Our high-quality Road to Prosperity program is based upon, among other things, results coming directly from research tasks carried out by the think tank, so students will benefit from learning them too. Internships and the possibility of participating in field work with our staff will also be an advantage for students.”
Luis B. Cirocco, founder and director of Econintech, speaks about the importance of economic freedom.
Econintech is also instilling its work with best practices from the global think tank community, through Acevedo’s and Cirocco’s participation in Atlas Leadership Academy training programs, including Think Tank Navigator and Think Tank Impact.
“The possibility of learning the experiences of other successful think tanks around the world, as well as of interacting with people from other countries, is the most valuable attribute of the Atlas Leadership Academy, in our view,” Cirocco points out. “This creates an inspiring environment for attendees to adapt those experiences in attempts for replication in their own countries. The importance of having a strong research team, of combining technical speeches with emotional stories, and of attempting to work with non-traditional allies towards the achievement of freedom were Atlas Network’s ideas that are tremendously valued by Econintech’s staff, to the point that they are being implemented now for improving our programs and scope for the near future.”