The program, officially launched last Wednesday at the Radisson Fort George, is designed to promote the development of micro, small and medium enterprises MSMEs in Belize over a 24-month period.
The project is valued at $874,000 and has 4 major components: building awareness and support to national policies for entrepreneurship and design of a regional strategy, providing grant funding for qualified MSMEs, establishing a network to link MSMEs in Central America and the Dominican Republic, increase value added product/services, and engaging in knowledge management and capacity building of MSMEs.
Sixty percent of the budget will be used for seed capital to provide financial aid to qualified MSMEs.
Over the 24 months the project is expected to create or strengthen 31 enterprises, 35 percent of which are led by women, and 62 direct employees.
It is also expected to generate $124,000 in sales by new businesses.
The project is part of a regional initiative called the Integral Development of Entrepreneurship on Central America and Dominican Republic; a collaborative effort between the Regional Center for Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises (CENPROMYPE), and the governments of Colombia and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The regional project is valued at US$1.5 million.
At the launch Belize officially signed on to the regional program.
Nicholas Ruiz, president of CENPROMYPE and executive director of BELTRAIDE, explained that the focus is on entrepreneurs country wide and encouraged everyone with a business idea to get involved.
Ruiz also explained that as leaders in the field of entrepreneurial development, the government of Colombia’s involvement will be vital in the fostering of entrepreneurial culture to Belize and the region.
CENPROMYPE is an arm of the Central American Integration System (SICA), responsible for contributing to the competitive development of MSMEs in Central America through the strengthening of the private and public companies that support and lend services to the sector.
Executive director of CENPROMYPE, Ingrid Figueroa Santamaría, said that Ruiz’s presidency of CENPROMYPE marks the first time the position has been held by a Belizean.