IIC Trains Coffee and Chocolate Producers for Greater Export Capacity


Political and industrial stakeholders gather at export training session sponsored by the IIC’s FINPYME ExportPlus program

Guatemala City, Guatemala, September 5, 2013 — The Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) has helped coffee and chocolate producing Guatemalan small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) strengthen their export capacity through a series of workshops held in Guatemala City in partnership with the Italian Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala (AMCHAM).

The opening event was attended by Sigfrido Lee, Deputy Minister of Development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and Fabrizio Pignatelli della Leonessa, Italian ambassador to Guatemala, and gathered representatives from the Guatemalan Ministry of Economy, the Embassy of Italy in Guatemala, the Guatemalan National Coffee Association Anacafé, the Guatemala Exporters Association, and the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry.

“Support to businesses—especially SMEs, which represent the majority of Guatemalan businesses—is key to the country’s economic and social development,” noted Sigfrido Lee. “With this support, jobs will be created, improving the living conditions of Guatemalan families. One of the challenges is to increase the value added of Guatemalan companies’ products and services. It is a great satisfaction to have the strategic support of the IIC in this process.”

Under the guidance of a team of local and international experts, local chocolate producers learned how to adjust their production and marketing strategies to better access international markets. For the coffee workshop, representatives of the Guatemalan Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Coffee Producers and traditional local companies gave participating companies insights on commercial aspects, distribution channels, competitiveness, and quality requirements. More than 100 people participated in the opening ceremony of the event and representatives from a total of 72 SMEs attended the workshops.

The workshops are part of the IIC’s FINPYME ExportPlus program, which has helped some 500 SMEs in Guatemala raise their export profile and increase their competitiveness since its inception in 2009. In partnership with more than 20 local organizations, 25 technical assistance activities have been carried out so far. The program has spread to twelve more countries across Latin America and the Caribbean.

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.

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. We help companies streamline management processes and provide them with financing in the form of equity investments, loans, and guarantees. In 2012, the IIC approved 73 operations totaling US$378.9 million. Throughout our history, we have approved nearly 800 direct loans to SMEs and financial intermediaries, for a total of US$4.8 billion. An additional US$2.8 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