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Call for proposals to improve SME's access to finance and competitiveness in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank, in collaboration with the Spanish General Trust Fund, announces a new call for proposals to improve financial and private sector development policies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

This is the second Call for Proposals for the Better Conditions for Productivity Program (MAP, for its initials in Spanish) established by the IDB in 2009 as part of his Business Climate Initiative, which seeks to improve business conditions in the region. This time the call for proposals will focus on access to finance and competitiveness among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

This call for proposals will provide grants to enhance SME’s access to finance and competitiveness. These grants will support activities related to: strengthening financial institutions and regulations, the development of lending institutions and technologies adapted to SMEs needs (credit bureaus, credit scoring techniques, innovative credit guarantee schemes, secured transactions frameworks, access to venture or equity capital, among others), as well as the improvement of private sector development programs from a financial perspective. Activities should have a well-defined project goal and measurable results. Also, smaller research grants related to impact evaluations of SME productivity-enhancing programs or lending instruments will be considered.

Two types of proposals will be considered:

1. Activity grants up to €125,000 for implementation of activities directed at improving financial institutions, policies and lending practices in order to meet SMEs needs. Activities that incorporate impact evaluation methods to generate rigorous lessons learned are recommended.

2. Research grants up to €15,000 to carry out diagnostics studies, impact evaluations, comparative studies, and other empirical work that leads to lessons learned and policy recommendations.

Projects will be evaluated on innovativeness, ability to generate and empirically document impact, and overall quality of the proposal. The IDB will publish the results of the MAP grants as part of its research publications. Ideally, activities and research grants will be implemented in less than one year.

Private institutions, governments and research institutions are eligible to apply.

The MAP strongly encourages government and private institutions to propose activities to improve financial access of SMEs that require technical support in their design, execution or evaluation. Research Grants are expected to be implemented by the proposing individual or institution, while the activities can require from the IDB to identify and contract consulting support to carry out a component or the overall activity. Eight proposals were selected in the first call in February, 2010.

The MAP funds 50 percent of its activities with services from Spanish consultancy firms and individuals with a strong background on financial and private sector development.

The deadline for submitting proposals for this new call will be September 30, 2010. To submit proposals, please visit the MAP web page and follow the instructions for applying for funds.

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