IIC Builds Bridges between the Caribbean and Asia

05/08/2012

Seoul, Korea, May 8, 2012 — The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) is helping Caribbean companies explore new markets through an initiative that will enable nine producers of food and beverages to participate in the Seoul Food 2012 exhibition from May 8 through 11.

The participating companies are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Suriname interested in pursuing new business opportunities in Asia. They will receive financial support to take part in the trade show, providing them an international forum for their products and the potential to make new business contacts in Korea and beyond.

Marie Sharp’s Fine Foods Ltd., a Belizean producer of jams, fruit syrups, and pepper sauces, is one of the companies traveling to Korea with IIC support. Founder and managing director Marie Sharp is convinced that “the Seoul Food 2012 trade show will provide a unique opportunity for us to showcase our products and meet new business partners. For us, this is a crucial first step in accessing new markets and growing our family business.”

“The trade show initiative is part of a larger IIC effort to strengthen existing ties between Korea and Latin America and the Caribbean,” noted Jacques Rogozinski, the IIC’s general manager. “Korea is a key IIC partner and its financial commitment and technical expertise offer opportunities for collaboration and exchange between Latin American and Caribbean businesses as well as their Korean counterparts.”

Korea has been a member of the IIC since 2005 and is one of the main donors behind the IIC’s flagship FINPYME program, through the $40 million Korea-IIC SME Development Trust Fund. FINPYME is grant-driven and uses an array of technical services to help SMEs access potential sources of financing. By the end of 2011, 66 projects totaling $10.6 million had been approved with support from the Fund.

Seoul Food is Korea’s largest annual trade expo with a 30-year tradition. Close to 1,500 exhibitors from some 50 countries across the globe are expected to participate this year.

About the IIC

The IIC is a multilateral financial institution that is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group. 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. It does so by providing 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 2011, the IIC reached US$1.48 billion in assets and approved 71 operations channeling US$464.7 million to SMEs in the region. For more information on the IIC’s activities, visit www.iic.org.

Contact: Jorge Roldán

Telephone: (202) 623-3948

Email: jorgero@iadb.org