Juan Infante Alosilla
This profile was prepared when Juan Infante Alosilla was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
In Peru where most workers operate in the informal sector and where economic power continues to accrue to a few national and multinational businesses, Juan Infante has designed and launched an urban revitalization effort to revitalize the Gamarra, one of Lima's oldest small business districts. Instead of adopting a protectionist stance and trying to isolate the district from outside influences, Juan works to convince both the government and the business community that they should seek advanced training and make investments that will increase productivity and improve their marketing. Through the Gamarra revitalization effort, he has established on-the-job training for employees and helped connect entrepreneurs with major textile exporters. Working with local business leaders, Juan has developed direct access to top government ministers and established links to Peru's largest industrial association. Today, the Gamarra is an important producer of garments. It has also become a vibrant cultural center, attracting major art exhibits and musical talent, and is one of Lima's primary fashion spots. In July 1999 alone, one million people visited the Gamarra.