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IDB hold annual competition for Microenterprise Development Institutions in the Americas

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced it will hold the third annual competition for its Inter-American Awards for Microenterprise Development, which recognize the outstanding achievements, innovations and leadership of institutions and individuals who help low-income businesspeople in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The contest will be open to formal financial institutions and non governmental organizations involved in microlending, as well as to institutions that provide business development services to microentrepreneurs. A special category of the awards recognizes the work of individuals who combine a strong social commitment with sound business practices in the promotion of microenterprise and community development.

The award ceremony will be held on November 15 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, as part of the November 14-16 IV Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise. The IDB will invite delegates from the winning institutions to participate in the forum, which will bring together leading practitioners and figures in the field of microenterprise and microfinance.

The IDB’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Division, which is organizing the event, will receive applications for the contest until July 31, 2001. To request forms, please e-mail micawards@iadb.org or send a fax to (202) 623-2307 or to (202) 312-4134. You may also contact the Inter-American Development Bank’s office in your country.

The IDB and microenterprise

Microenterprises play a fundamental economic and social role in Latin America and the Caribbean. There are more than 60 million of these tiny businesses in the region, where they constitute the single biggest source of jobs. More than 150 million people work in these enterprises, which employ up to 10 people.

Microenterprises provide economic opportunities for the region’s poor, women heads of households and other disadvantaged groups, especially during crises. Despite their social relevance, microenterpreneurs have traditionally lacked access to formal credit and other services tailored to their needs.

In order to meet those demands, individuals and institutions across the Americas have worked for decades to generate and expand microfinance, business development and labor training services for microentrepreneurs. The IDB, a pioneer in this field, has devoted some $800 million to support more than 500 microenterprise-related projects since 1978.

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