GREENPYME opens the doors to energy efficiency for Latin American and Caribbean SMEs

10/26/2009

The GREENPYME program makes it easier for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America and the Caribbean to access basic energy saving tools. GREENPYME, which is administered by the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), is being launched in Colombia with BBVA Colombia. Informational workshops will be held first. They will be followed by free energy audits for a group of SMEs, in addition to other activities geared to improving energy efficiency at participating enterprises.

Bogotá, Colombia, October 27, 2009 — GREENPYME, the energy efficiency support program created by the IIC in late 2008, is being presented in Colombia. This initiative seeks to foster energy efficiency at SMEs by cutting energy consumption while maintaining business volume and the quality of life, protecting the environment, ensuring supply, and promoting sustainable energy use.

As the program is launched, the IIC and BBVA Colombia will hold informational and training workshops for entrepreneurs in Bogotá (October 27), Medellín (October 28), and Cali (October 29). The goal is to raise entrepreneurs’ awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, in order to make them more competitive and environmentally friendly.

The launching of GREENPYME in Colombia is being cosponsored by the IIC and BBVA Colombia, with support from the Ministerio de Minas y Energía, whose mining and energy planning unit Unidad de Planeación Minero Energética is involved in the workshops. The launch will also draw on the experience of international companies committed to fostering sustainability, such as Applus, Grupo Telefónica, and Grupo Abengoa-Zeroemissions. The Spanish firm Creara Consultores is the technical coordinator for the sessions. Financial support for GREENPYME is being provided by several donors, especially the Korea-IIC SME Development Trust Fund.

As the program is presented, representatives from the agencies and companies involved will speak on various energy efficiency and business competitiveness issues, such as what new technologies can contribute and how to finance energy efficiency projects. They will also discuss case studies.

Enterprises participating in the GREENPYME Colombia program that meet certain eligibility criteria and are selected on the basis of their energy savings potential may receive free assistance from the IIC for energy audits and clean technology viability studies.

For making new, more efficient investments, these SMEs may also opt for specialized financing facilities from BBVA Colombia. The objective is to put such financing within easier reach for a significant number of Colombian enterprises that would, after receiving technical and financial support, become models for extending the initiative to other Colombian companies.

Energy efficiency for Latin American and Caribbean SMEs

GREENPYME targets Latin America and the Caribbean. GREENPYME workshops have already been held in The Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, where a group of SMEs are undergoing energy consumption audits. Carbon emissions neutralization plans are being implemented at some of them.

According to Carlos Serrano, who is in charge of the GREENPYME program at the IIC, "This innovative and pragmatic energy efficiency support program is needed because SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean still consume a lot of energy inefficiently and at a high cost. That cost is a significant competitiveness factor for these companies."

GREENPYME responds directly to specific SME needs, ensures rapid implementation, leverages leading international company knowledge and quality capacity for the benefit of SMEs, and helps address the problem that many SMEs have in accessing financing for energy efficiency projects. To this end, in each country the initiative involves local banks willing to support their clients with financing for implementing measures that will make SMEs more efficient, profitable, competitive, and socially responsible. GREENPYME does not seek to replace or displace support or funding from other public and private sources.

BBVA Colombia, which is committed to developing the business sector, supporting SMEs, and protecting the environment, will participate in the initiative by providing financing for projects undertaken by small and medium-size Colombian companies to decrease energy consumption, increase productivity, and help protect the environment.

BBVA Colombia sees this as an opportunity to continue fostering environmental improvement and protection initiatives in line with the Millennium Goals and policies for reducing pollution and rationalizing energy use. This will help reduce global warming and its impact on developing countries.

You may request more information on GREENPYME by e-mail to greenpyme@iadb.org.

The IIC is a multilateral financial institution that is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group. It provides financing (in the form of equity investments, loans, guarantees, and other instruments) and advisory services to private enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2008, the IIC reached US$1.5 billion in assets and approved sixty-four operations channeling US$300.5 million to SMEs in the region. The IIC’s mission is to promote the economic development of its regional member countries by encouraging the establishment, expansion, and modernization of private enterprises, particularly those that are small and medium in size. For more information on the IIC’s activities, please visit www.iic.int.

BBVA Colombia is part of Grupo BBVA, which is headquartered in Madrid, Spain, and is present in more than 132 countries worldwide. BBVA Colombia began operating in Colombia in 1996 after purchasing Banco Ganadero and is now the fourth largest financial institution in Colombia. Since then, BBVA Colombia has focused on small and medium-size enterprises as the principal source of employment and a critical engine of the nation’s economic growth. BBVA Colombia provides specialized services for SMEs through a network of 370 branches in more than 91 cities in Colombia. For more information, please visit www.BBVA.com.co.



Contact: Carlos Serrano

Telephone: (202) 623-2877

Email: cserrano@iadb.org