IIC launches FINPYME Hidden Champions in Trinidad and Tobago

11/21/2014

FINPYME Hidden Champions supports companies with high growth potential

Mount Hope, Trinidad and Tobago, November 21, 2014 — The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) is moving towards launching FINPYME Hidden Champions in Trinidad and Tobago, a new award program that recognizes companies with high growth potential and provides advisory services to help them gain traction in the market. Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) will assist the IIC in selecting these hidden champions.

The Hidden Champions idea was originally developed in Germany. KEXIM adopted the concept and positioned it as its core support program for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), contributing to economic growth in Korea. Hyuksun Kwon, loan officer at KEXIM, noted: “Based on our experience implementing the Hidden Champions program in Korea, we are helping the IIC set up criteria to select the companies and we are supporting IIC’s local strategic partners to customize the program to the specific context and economic reality of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Today’s meeting at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business brought together eleven partners representing academia, business organizations, commercial banks, and government representatives. Together with the IIC and KEXIM they established the roadmap to execute the program.

Hidden Champions holds a wealth of opportunities for SMEs across the Caribbean. IIC’s experience with its financial products and advisory services in the region shows that there are many companies with significant yet untapped potential that need advisory services to take off, which they often struggle to find and cannot afford. In response, local strategic partners, stakeholders and the IIC have chosen Trinidad and Tobago to trial FINPYME Hidden Champions.

Jorge Roldán, chief of the IIC’s Technical Assistance and Strategic Partnerships Division, noted: “SMEs play a major role in economic growth and are a key for job creation. Companies in the Caribbean can benefit from expanding their businesses within the region, leveraging their physical proximity. However, SMEs often face various challenges in their effort to go beyond their local markets. We hope our advisory services will help them take advantage of these opportunities and encourage them to become the next hidden champions. This program will provide a significant opportunity to nurture SMEs and contribute to the economic development in Trinidad and Tobago.”

Three hidden champions will be selected in Trinidad and Tobago by the end of February in 2015. They will be recognized during the 2015 IDB-IIC Annual Meetings in Busan, Korea.

About the IIC

The IIC, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, promotes private-sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We help companies streamline management processes and provide them with financing in the form of equity investments, loans, and guarantees, as well as innovative technical assistance, advisory services, and knowledge products. In 2013, the IIC approved 71 operations totaling US$415.4 million. Since its inception in 1989, the IIC has approved more than 800 direct loans to SMEs and financial intermediaries, for a total of US$5.21 billion. An additional US$3.01 billion has been mobilized through cofinancing and syndication agreements. For more information on IIC activities, visit www.iic.org.

Contact: Jorge Roldán

Telephone: +1 (202) 623-3948

Email: jorgero@iadb.org