In 1985, while Paraguay was under dictatorial rule, Martin Burt founded Fundacion Paraguaya, bringing an innovative microfinance program into the country during a particularly dangerous and tumultuous time. The program supported small businesses in the informal sector, and existed for the benefit of the poorest of the poor in both urban and rural areas. In 1989 the dictatorship was overthrown and Fundacion Paraguaya thrived. Since its inception, Fundación Paraguaya has supported 68,000 micro entrepreneurs increasing their confidence and ability to expand. The support of these small businesses has proven to be very rewarding for the communities as it has strengthened precarious jobs, increased family income, and created many new jobs, stimulating the economy and improving cultural moral. Fundacion Paraguaya recently began a Junior Achievement program that builds the skills of young people, and encourages rural entrepreneurship particularly through an agricultural school that teaches the profit available in well-managed, sustainable agriculture. Burt has been recognized by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepeneurship, and in 2005, received the Skoll Foundation Social Entrepeneur Award. Martin Burt, a believer in bestowing dignity as an escape from poverty, has empowered the poor of Paraguay by increasing human capitol and giving them the invaluable gift of the ability to rehabilitate themselves.
"Our strategy to survive the dictatorship was to be transparent and have a very clear agenda that showed we were there to help all peoples from all political parties."