Washington -- The
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in recognition of
the valuable work being done by microenterprises, has announced
it is honoring four of these small businesses from Mexico,
Nicaragua, Bolivia and Uruguay.
CAMBADU received the
Award for Excellence in Business Development
The membership of this
100-year-old business association consists
of thousands of small retailers in Uruguay.
Spurred by economic crises
and the development of large supermarket
chains, CAMBADU implemented an innovative
program of business development services
for its members, half of which are microentrepreneurs.
Among other activities,
it offers its clients a wide range of
tools used by large companies but tailored
to small businesses, such as joint purchases
to enhance bargaining power, monitoring
prices charged by large chains, training
courses, accounting services and other
technical assistance to help clients manage
their businesses, from feasibility analysis
to poster design.
The associationís expenses
are covered by membership dues and fees
for services. Its vision consists of transforming
a disparate, threatened sector into competitive,
information-intensive modern small companies
that capitalize on their close rapport
with their customers.
In an August 24 statement, the IDB said
it will present its annual awards for microenterprise development
during the eighth Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise,
to be held October 5-7 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. The theme
of the Santa Cruz forum is "Expanding the Frontiers
of Microenterprise: The Commitment to Reach Everyone."
The IDB established its awards in 1999 to
recognize outstanding contributions and innovations by leading
institutions and individuals in the development of microenterprise,
an economic sector that generates nearly half the jobs in
Latin America and the Caribbean.
IDB President Enrique Iglesias said that
the private sector, recognizing the "good business"
that stems from microenterprise (locally owned businesses
with up to 10 employees), has been steadily increasing its
amount of investment in these small companies.
The IDB estimates that almost 200 financial
institutions in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean
currently serve some 1.8 million microentrepreneurs, who
have taken out loans totaling about $1.2 billion. The institutions
range from nongovernmental organizations in remote rural
areas to commercial banks in the region's major cities.
The winners of the 2005 IDB awards for microenterprise
development are Financiera Compartamos of Mexico, a microfinance
institution; Fondo de Desarrollo Local of Nicaragua, a nongovernmental
organization; CAMBADU of Uruguay, a small business association;
and social entrepreneur Julio Alem Rojo of Bolivia.
information about the IDB award winners is available
on the bank’s Web site.
The U.S. State Department said in its February
2004 electronic Journal that the Microenterprise for Self-Reliance
Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 2000, mandates that
half of all microenterprise funds of the U.S. Agency for
International Development go to the very poor, meaning those
who live on less than $1 a day.
According to the journal, Microenterprise:
Laying the Foundation for Economic Development,
the U.S. government strategy for supporting microenterprises
centers on policy and regulatory reforms that support conditions
for business development, access to business-development
services, and delivery of microfinance. The journal said
that firms of five or fewer employees account for half of
the nonfarm workforce in Latin America.
Washington File Staff Writer