Small and medium enterprises are fundamental to create development and increase economic growth in Latin America. Because of this, the European Union designed a cooperation program to help Latin American SMEs, called AL-Invest 5.0. This program strengthened business productivity in the region, as well as their association capabilities. It also helped the capabilities of 110 institutions.
Results for Guatemala:
In Guatemala, the European Union joined hands with the Guatemalan Exporters’ Association (AGEXPORT), the Lempa River Tri-National Commonwealth (MTFRL) and the San Carlos University’s Eastern Campus, developing two projects scheduled to end in 2019.
Among other results reached with these programs, 1,010 small and medium enterprises implemented different innovation projects on their companies, 1,260 firms raised their productivity levels, 809 businesswomen started special empowerment networks and 1,100 companies expanded their portfolio of products and diversified their export markets.
As well, the local institutions in charge of implementing the projects were able to improve their institutional capabilities developing 11 new services oriented specifically on small and medium enterprises.
Results for El Salvador:
The Salvadoran Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIES), the La Union’s Agency for Local Economic Development and the Catholic University of El Salvador were responsible for implementing the projects supported by AL-Invest 5.0 in El Salvador.
Among other results, 379 small and medium companies raised their competitiveness and productivity levels, 260 businesswomen were supported, and 196 businesses expanded their international markets.
Results for Honduras:
AL-Invest 5.0 was implemented by the Choloma Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Puerto Cortes and Omoa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Honduran Foundation for Environment and Life Development, the Local Economic Development Agency for the Valley and the Honduran Federation for Agriculture and Livestock. With their support, 507 small and medium companies developed a strong network and 252 diversified their markets. As well, these institutions developed 12 new services focused on the needs of SMEs.
Results for Costa Rica:
In Costa Rica, more than 1,400 businessmen were benefited thanks to the support of the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce, the Business Development Association and the Sugarcane League.
A total of 1,212 small and medium enterprises included innovation processes in their companies, 489 diversified their portfolio of products and 481 businesswoman developed strong empowerment networks.
Results for Nicaragua:
More than 1,700 Nicaraguan businesses were benefited with AL-Invest 5.0 thanks to the support of the Nicaraguan Exporters and Producers Association (APEN), the Social and Economic Development Foundation (FUNIDES), the Union of Agriculture Cooperatives (UCA-SOPPEXCCA), the Foundation for Agriculture and Forestry Technologic Development (FUNICA) and the Private Sector Council (COSEP).
556 SMEs were also benefited by expanding their portfolio of products and 490 included innovation processes.
Results for Panama:
With support from the Ciudad del Saber Foundation, the program was able to help 86 women to develop business leadership skills, 55 SMEs raised their productivity levels and 183 diversified their markets.