IIC Launches Export Program in El Salvador
FINPYME ExportPlus has already channeled more than US$2.2 million in training for SMEs
San Salvador, El Salvador, August 28, 2012 — With an opening conference in San Salvador, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) has launched its flagship export program, FINPYME ExportPlus, in El Salvador.
El Salvador is the tenth country targeted by FINPYME ExportPlus since the program’s inception in 2009. The IIC has invested more than US$2.2 million in this technical assistance program, helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Latin America and the Caribbean become more competitive and improve their export capacity. Training workshops held in collaboration with local partners have drawn more than 1,000 participants from across the region.
The opening conference at San Salvador’s Hotel Sheraton Presidente was attended by more than 80 entrepreneurs and representatives from both private and public sector institutions. A workshop on market intelligence was held concurrently with the conference and another 20 FINPYME ExportPlus training sessions and activities are planned through year-end 2014.
Speaking at the opening event, the minister of economy of El Salvador, Armando Flores, noted: “The Ministry of Economy of El Salvador is very pleased with the strategic support the IIC has provided our country through its FINPYME ExportPlus program. Technical assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is critically important to El Salvador’s economic development, to job creation, and to improving the well-being of Salvadoran families.”
Gustavo Arnavat, the IIC’s executive director for the United States, added: “FINPYME ExportPlus is an innovative and efficient IIC initiative for promoting business ventures that create wealth and jobs. The United States Government has traditionally promoted the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean and is steadfastly committed to the development of the region’s SMEs.”
At the closing event, José Mauricio Silva, the IIC’s temporary alternate executive director for El Salvador, underscored the importance of FINPYME ExportPlus, noting that “although SMEs only account for 15% of the loan portfolio, they nevertheless play a key social role by generating some 50% of our countries’ jobs and as a driving force behind our economies.”
Through FINPYME ExportPlus, Italy will share best practices with El Salvador in several areas in which this European country has specific expertise. According to Barbara Tarullo, the economic attaché at Italy’s embassy in El Salvador, this knowledge transfer will enable Salvadoran SMEs to boost the value added of their products and services thereby increasing their competitiveness at the international level.
In fact, Corporación de Exportadores de El Salvador (COEXPORT) has embraced the FINPYME ExportPlus initiative as a way to shore up growth of the country’s export sector and, by extension, of the Salvadoran economy in general. COEXPORT, whose 200 active members have helped identify SME participants for the program’s workshops is a key IIC partner in El Salvador and also provides organizational support for its events.
FINPYME ExportPlus complements Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) activities in support of the Aid-for-Trade initiative of the World Trade Organization. The program is supported by a trust fund established by the Italian Government that will provide US$285,000 for the implementation of the program in El Salvador.
In addition to El Salvador, FINPYME ExportPlus will also be launched in Bolivia and Jamaica later this year.
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. In 2011, the IIC reached the symbolic one-billion-dollar mark in disbursements of own and third-party funds. Throughout our history, we have benefited more than 1.6 million SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information on the IIC, visit www.iic.org.
Contact: Jorge Roldán
Telephone: +1 (202) 623-3948