The Huétar Norte and Central Sur regions projects are only a part of the 37 projects that the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) has green-lit for Costa Rica since 1994 totaling $35.4 million. Additionally, the MIF is currently coordinating from Costa Rica various regional projects, worth $23.5 million, relying on the technical leadership of the Costa Rican people.
The current active portfolio is made up of eight national projects worth $4.7 million and three regional projects worth $5.7 million. National projects have been focused on issues such as rural community tourism, bolstering small and medium enterprise (SME) exports, technical assistance to benefit from the Dominican Republic—Central America Free Trade Agreement with the United States (DR-CAFTA), and SME growth through franchising, among others.
Beyond financing, the MIF has been a strong supporter of micro, small and medium enterprise in Costa Rica. Among the most illustrative programs is Costa Rica Provee—now part of the Promotora de Comercio Exterior (Procomer)—that was able to link national SMEs with high-tech multinational corporations, improving the variety and technical quality of national offerings. Its impact is reflected on the sustained GDP growth coming from sales from these national companies engaging in direct or indirect exporting.
The MIF supported the strengthening of Parquetec as an incubator of technological enterprise, helped the Chamber of Information and Communication Technologies (CAMTIC) in the internationalization of software companies, and the creation of the first Business Angel Network in the country. The latter has taken place in a structured manner insofar that angel investors are able to evaluate joint investment opportunities and transfer knowledge to the entrepreneur at the same time.
The MIF has also implemented a variety of sustainable and community-based tourism, local economic development and corporate alliances, such as the Supporting the Use of Biodiversity by Small Enterprises Program (INBio), which provided the opportunity for SMEs to research and develop products taking advantage of the country’s biodiversity. As a result, products were developed and released and are currently in the market. It includes pharmaceutical products to be sold over the counter by Lisan Laboratory such as Quassia, the root of a shrub known as "Big Man" used for dyspepsia and Es-Tilo, a natural painkiller made from the linden flower.
The MIF will continue to support Costa Rica in funding dynamic projects that provide micro and SMEs access to capabilities, markets and financing, helping contribute to an improvement in the quality of life of the Costa Rican people.
- Ángela Fúnez