Grupo Onyx was founded by Mario López Estrada and initiated business activities in 1972. The most important divisions today are: Telecommunications, Real Estate Development, Energy Generation, Specialized Services, and International Real Estate Development.
The Group’s corporate values are excellence, efficiency, transparency, integrity, social responsibility, and a passion to serve.
The Group operates a joint venture in Guatemala under the brand Tigo, which has been the leading provider of telecommunications services in Central America for over 30 years, serving more than 11 million customers with mobile-fixed-phone and data services. Mario López Estrada is a member of the board and vice chairman of the company.
Grupo Onyx is committed to supporting inclusive economic growth and social development to help address the root causes of migration and help Guatemala transition into a more promising future.
Foundations Affiliated with Grupo Onyx
The Group has traditionally had a strong focus on supporting the poorest communities in the country. The philanthropic arms of the company – Fundación Tigo (created in 2009) and Fundación Mario López Estrada (created in 2019) – seek to improve the quality of life for Guatemalans, to create development opportunities for communities in rural areas, and stem flows of illegal migration. Main areas of support include projects in Education, Health and Food Safety. Together, the Foundations have donated more than $50 million dollars over the past 12 years, without being subject to tax exemption, benefiting over 450,000 people.
Fundación Tigo and Fundación Mario López Estrada have created alliances and have worked on different social benefit projects with USAID, the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the Embassy of Japan, the Embassy of Germany, the Office of the United Nations in Guatemala, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), UN Women, United Nations Global Compact, the Inter-American Dialogue, and Fundación Maestro Cares from New York, among others.
Given the serious impact of the global pandemic, the Group made the decision in 2021 to invest all of its corporate social responsibility resources into projects supported by the United States government in Guatemala, particularly USAID and the Embassy.
In alliance with USAID|Alianzas and the United Nations System, the «Escuelas del Milenio» Program was created with the objective of improving the quality of education. Through this program, a total of 151 fully rebuilt and refurbished schools have benefited more than 33,000 students.
Subsequently the ABC / Digital Schools Program was created. The program seeks to contribute to strengthening the infrastructure of schools, and to implement the use of technology through its program «Digital Classrooms»
Currently, Fundación Tigo has completed and delivered to the Ministry of Education a total of 365 public schools with digital capacities installed. This is the equivalent of delivering a school every 10 days during 10 years, benefiting more than 94,000 children
Recently, due to the serious negative impact that Covid-19 is having on education, both Foundations supported the USAID project «Alianza por la Educación.» This project is being implemented in the western highlands and seek to provide computers and free internet in the homes of program participants, who are mostly young returnees from the United States, so that they can study and train from their homes. The project seeks to train 29,000 young people.
Fundación Tigo supports the UNETE Project to «Save Children with Cancer» and is one of the most important contributors to the program, raising more than US$22 million for the cause, through the years. These funds have been fully invested in outpatient clinics, chemotherapies, laboratory tests and medications for more than 8,000 children, as well as in hospital equipment and infrastructure that guarantees the proper functioning of the UNOP (National Pediatric Oncology Unit), which is the only specialized center for the treatment of pediatric cancer in Guatemala. Thanks to this support, the hospital has managed to raise life expectancy, from 20% to 70% of the children who are treated in it.
Fundación Tigo supported the construction of the permanent care center in Jocotán, Chiquimula, which benefits more than 190,000 people from the surrounding communities. Fundación Tigo also supported the construction of a permanent care center in Ilom, Chajul, Quiché, one of the places most affected by the internal armed conflict, which will benefit more than 30,000 people from nearby communities.
Tigo donated two refrigerator trucks to the Centro de Producción Caprina del Altiplano (CEPROCAL), located in Nebaj, Quiché, a USAID financed project, which are destined for the collection of goat’s milk from the closest communities to the aforementioned center. This donation was intended to support the reduction of chronic malnutrition in Quiché, where more than 72.2% of children under 2 years of age suffer from this type of malnutrition.
The Fundación Mario López Estrada was invited by USAID to support the Partnership for Hope Program, which brings humanitarian assistance to the people of the municipalities most affected by the Eta and Iota storms. The Group donated 750 upgraded stoves to 750 families that lost everything during the storms in Chiantla, Huehuetenango.
Initial discussions are underway to jointly implement with USAID a project, through Farmer to The Americas, to reduce chronic child malnutrition in several communities located in the middle basin of Chiantla, where chronic malnutrition is 74% in children under five years of age. The proposed project seeks to improve goat genetics for greater milk production, which will be used for the consumption by children and mothers who will be intervened, as well as, to generate enterprises with the production of goat dairy products, which will generate additional economic income to families.
PROVIDING FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY
As part of the Tigo Money projects, the Group presented in Huehuetenango, along with the Ambassador of the United States, the nano-credits project called Tigo Plata. This project grants microcredits to beneficiaries in areas of low opportunity who need financing but do not have access to bank credits due to their lack of a credit record. This project is intentended to be developed in rural areas, with a focus on thos with highest migration rates to the United States.
The Group also established an alliance with USAID in order to promote education and financial inclusion through the Inter-American Dialogue programs, thus contributing to the prevention of Illegal migration.
Tigo Money, through the Electronic Wallet, helped USAID to distribute for six months in 2020, $9 million dollars of conditional remittances, free of charge, to 28,000 vulnerable families in the departments of the dry corridor, seriously affected by the pandemic.
THE INTER-AMERICAN DIALOGUE
Both Foundations have been contributing to various economic empowerment and financial education projects for recipients of remittances, from the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank in whose activities the group participates permanently.
In 2015, Fundación Tigo signed a Collaboration Agreement for Transparency with Seattle International Foundation and Acción Ciudadana (the local chapter of Transparency Internation), in which the first two organizations agreed to support Acción Ciudadana with funds destined to create institutional capacities for transparency projects and accountability of the public administration of Guatemala.
Fundación Tigo also signed a Collaboration Agreement with Acción Ciudadana, which was aimed at using technology to promote transparency in government institutions. This agreement was first signed in 2016 and was renewed in 2018 through 2020. As part of this Collaboration Agreement, in 2018, Fundación Tigo developed the Dilo Aqui Guate application to be administered by Acción Ciudadana, which is intended to promote citizen reporting of corruption cases within public and government institutions.
Fundación Tigo has also supported the initiative «Ojo con mi Pisto», which is a journalistic media that promotes transparency and the fight against corruption, monitors the use of municipal funds and encourages citizen participation.
Fundación Tigo also organized the forum «Towards a Culture of Business Integrity», with the support of Transparency International, Acción Ciudadana and the Global Compact Network Guatemala, which featured the participation of José Ugaz, former President of the Board of Transparency International, as a keynote speaker.