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IDB to hold Microenterprise Forum in Quito, Ecuador, September 13-15

The Inter-American Development Bank will hold on September 13-15 in Quito, Ecuador an international conference on microenterprise, a key economic sector for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Ecuador President Alfredo Palacio and IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno are due to open the 9th Inter-American Microenterprise Forum on the morning of Thursday, September 14 in Quito’s Swissôtel.

Microenterprises are the principal source of income for hundreds of millions of poor families around the world. In Latin America and the Caribbean there are some 60 million of these businesses, which generate around half the region’s jobs.

This year the forum will focus on access to new markets and better services to help poor people improve their living standards. These are central aspects of Building Opportunity for the Majority, an IDB initiative to promote economic opportunities for low-income people.

The forum’s panels will discuss issues such as the role of the state, banks and NGOs in microfinance, registration of businesses operating in the informal sector, microenterprise participation in value chains, training for young entrepreneurs and business models for expanding poor people’s access to housing, utilities and healthcare.

The conference will also have an exhibit hall with stands of leading agencies involved in microfinance and microenterprise development, a handcraft fair with products made and sold by microentrepreneurs, a meeting point to promote networking among participants and visits to successful Ecuadorian programs.

More than 1,000 people from the Americas and Europe are expected to participate in this year’s forum, including representatives from NGOs, foundations, social investment funds, microfinance institutions, credit unions, banks, consulting firms, credit rating agencies, universities, think tanks, government agencies and multilateral institutions.

Microenterprise Development Awards

On the night of Thursday, September 14, the IDB will  present its annual awards for microenterprise development, which recognize the outstanding contributions of institutions and individuals working in Latin America and the Caribbean

This year’s winners are Mibanco of Peru, Fundacion Mundial de la Mujer of Bucaramanga, Colombia; Actuar Famiempresas of Medellin, Colombia and Corporacion Hogar de Cristo of Ecuador.

IDB, Microenterprise and Opportunity

The IDB is the leading source of financing for microenterprise development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Since 1978, when it launched its Small Projects Program, the IDB has invested more than $1 billion in more than 500 microenterprise-related projects.

Under Building Opportunity for the Majority the IDB aims to support initiatives that will triple the volume of microcredit in this region within a 5-year period. The current volume of microfinance is estimated at $5 billion a year. The goal is to reach $15 billion by 2011, mainly by involving more commercial banks in microfinance.

The initiative also seeks to help Latin American and Caribbean countries reduce the bureaucratic barriers that hinder the creation of jobs and keep businesses from entering the formal economy.

The IDB will also promote – in cooperation with government agencies, private sector institutions and civil society groups – private sector projects to expand access to housing, reliable electricity and drinking water services, among others

The IDB expects these efforts to generate more opportunities for low-income groups to accumulate assets and participate in the benefits of economic growth.

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