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IDB approves $6,790,000 to support technological innovation in Nicaragua

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced the approval of a $6,790,000 soft loan to Nicaragua to introduce and develop new and more effective mechanisms to finance technological innovation that will make small and medium-sized businesses more competitive, providing them with greater opportunities for growth and exports.

The resources will finance, on a pilot basis, a national innovation system that will be capable of coordinating technological changes and deepening the market for technology services. The state will have the role of facilitator and regulator in the process, while the private sector, nongovernment organizations, and universities will have a predominant role in providing technology services.

A funding mechanism will be established to strengthen national service laboratories and stimulate and meet the demand for technological innovations, improving the supply of services and increasing the value of exports in the longer run. Joint projects between universities and small and medium-sized businesses will be encouraged.

Between 45 to 60 firms participating in the pilot project will receive grants of up to 60 percent of cost for introducing investments for technological innovation, and a Nicaraguan Technology Fund will be designed to support technology investments on a sustainable basis.

The program will be carried out by the Ministry of Development, Industry and Trade* through the Science and Technology Council (CONICYT). Both CONICYT and the Office of Technology, Standardization and the Metrology will be strengthened as a part of the project.

The IDB loan from the Fund for Special Operations is for a 40-year term, with a 10-year grace period, at an interest rate of 1 percent during the grace period and 2 percent thereafter. Local counterpart funds total $2.67 million.

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