The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the winners of its annual competition for institutions and individuals that promote microenterprise in Latin America and the Caribbean.
This year’s Inter-American Awards for Microenterprise Development were granted to institutions in Bolivia, Dominican Republic and Paraguay and to two champions of human development from Trinidad and Tobago. Institutions in Ecuador, Mexico and Peru won honorable mentions.
IDB President Enrique V. Iglesias will present the awards on Nov. 15 in a ceremony held as part of the IV Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise. This meeting, which will take place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Nov. 14-16, has been organized by the IDB’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Division.
The awards recognize the outstanding achievements of institutions and individuals that support the development of microenterprises, which generate jobs for more than 150 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Among this year’s winners are an innovative microfinance institution from Bolivia that has expanded internationally, a Dominican non-profit organization that provides microcredit to thousands of low-income businesswomen, and a Paraguayan foundation that supplies business development services to rural indigenous communities.
The IDB’s award for social entrepreneurship was given to a nun and a priest who run one of the Caribbean’s most notable non governmental organizations in the fields of child care, teenage job-training and community development.
Award Winning Institutions and Individuals
Fondo Financiero Privado FIE S.A. FIE, a leading Bolivian microfinance company, won the Award for Excellence in Microfinance for Regulated Institutions for its innovations in client services as well as for its commendable financial performance in a highly competitive market beset by harsh economic conditions. Earlier this year FIE opened a branch in Buenos Aires to cater to a huge potential market of Bolivian migrant workers and microentrepreneurs living in the Argentine capital. One of its goals is to harness the massive flows of remittances to support its microlending operations.
Asociación Dominicana para el Desarrollo de la Mujer. ADOPEM, the Dominican Association for Women’s Development, garnered the Award for Excellence in Microfinance for Non Regulated Institutions. Since it was founded 19 years ago, ADOPEM has become a leader in microlending in the Dominican Republic. It serves some 20,000 clients, of which 94 percent are low-income women.
FIDA. Paraguay’s Indigenous Foundation for Agricultural Development won the Award for Excellence in Business Development Services for its strong management capabilities, its efforts to provide self-sustaining services, its interest in environmental conservation and the high quality and originality of the technical assistance it offers to its beneficiaries, 11 communities of indigenous small farmers in the Chaco Central, a poor, isolated region in western Paraguay.
Ruth Montrichard and Gerard Pantin. Sister Montrichard and Father Pantin, winners of the Award for Excellence in Social Entrepreneurship, run SERVOL (Service Volunteered for All), a non governmental organization based in Trinidad and Tobago. Father Pantin founded SERVOL in 1970 to help people in his nation’s poorest communities. Under the leadership of its founder and Sister Montrichard, its executive director, SERVOL provides day care services through a network of crèches for thousands of Trinidadian infants as well as education, job training and computer literacy programs for teenagers. Guided by an integral approach to human development, Pantin and Montrichard also started parenting, hygiene and civics classes for its adolescent beneficiaries. A SERVOL affiliate grants microloans to alumni of its job internship program to help them open small shops and businesses and gives them training in basic management skills and advice on production and marketing techniques.
In the category for regulated microfinance institutions, Caja Municipal de Ahorro y Crédito de Arequipa (CMAC-Arequipa) of Peru and Banco Solidario of Ecuador won honorable mentions in recognition of their leadership and their capacity for innovation. CMAC-Arequipa managed to boost its client base, its deposits and its profitability at the same time as it put nearly all its staff through training courses and implemented a credit risk evaluation system. Banco Solidario has tailored its products to fit the needs of its diverse clientele, developing a remittances service that links Ecuador with its migrant workers in Spain.
CHF Mexico was awarded an honorable mention in the category for non regulated microfinance institutions. This affiliate of the Cooperative Housing Foundation, a U.S. NGO with a distinguished record in promoting affordable housing in several countries around the world, has excelled in Mexico’s market for housing microloans by focusing on workers of the maquila industry.
Also, a posthumous award was granted to Camilo Leandro Lluberes Henríquez, a microfinance pioneer from the Dominican Republic. In 1983 he founded ADEMI (Association for the Development of Microenterprises) as a non-profit NGO. In 1998 it opened Banco de Desarrollo ADEMI S.A., a regulated microfinance institution that serves customers and communities in poor rural and urban areas of the Dominican Republic.
IV Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise
This three-day meeting will bring together leading experts and practitioners in the field of microenterprise development. During the forum, which will be held at the headquarters of the Dominican Republic’s Central Bank, participants will discuss the most successful methods and newest tools for promoting microfinance and business services for microentrepreneurs.
The forum will feature presentations by delegates from NGOs, commercial banks, credit cooperatives, community associations, consulting firms, philanthropic foundations, investment funds, bilateral and multilateral institutions and government agencies that support microenterprise development.
Among other issues, panelists will analyze the latest trends in training for microentrepreneurs, fair trade as a tool for opening new markets for micro and small businesses, the promotion of entrepreneurship among youth, microentrepreneurial participation in environmental conservation, and the application of new technologies to expand microfinance.