The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through its Social Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) approved a loan to the Nicaraguan company ECAMI S.A. The project, which is over a million dollars, will be accompanied by a technical cooperation and aims to establish a sustainable business model for families and entrepreneurs in rural areas of Nicaragua to have access to renewable energy sources for both domestic and productive use.
In Nicaragua, approximately 35% of the population has no access to power from the commercial power grid, a situation exacerbated in rural areas. In recent years there have been major initiatives to provide this basic service through reforms in the power sector, investment in projects to expand electricity networks and infrastructure projects to promote renewable energy use beyond the conventional network. However, the coverage of electricity in the country remains significantly below the average for Latin America.
Through this project, ECAMI SA aims to benefit about 1,300 low-income families by financing the sale of solar home systems in rural communities in the departments of Matagalpa, Estelí, the South Atlantic Autonomous Region and the North Atlantic Autonomous Region. In addition, by financing the sale of solar systems with micro loans, the project is expected to benefit 115 rural pumping systems for irrigation and cooling, which will support their productive activities and increase their income.
ECAMI already has over 25 years experience in the sale and maintenance of solar energy panels in Nicaragua. It recently received in the United Kingdom the Ashden Award, an award that honors businesses that provide energy solutions that reduce CO2 emissions while helping to reduce poverty.
"This project is a big step for ECAMI. We are pleased to grow as a company, contributing to development and social, economic and environmental development of Nicaragua. We hope this is the first of many projects that we will work with the IDB in order to continue growing and contributing to provide access to energy, sustainable development, and allow the shift to a renewable energy grid in Central America, " said Max Lacayo, manager and owner of ECAMI.
The Social Entrepreneurship Program (SEP)
The Social Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) is a financing tool created by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in 1982 to promote the development and implementation of financing mechanisms to support initiatives focused on providing sustainable solutions to socioeconomic problems affecting the poor and marginalized.
Over the past 30 years, SEP has funded 608 projects totaling $ 380 million, benefiting more than 600,000 poor and marginalized populations, particularly small farmers, entrepreneurs, women, indigenous, and disabled.
Today, the SEP provides funding and technical assistance to private enterprises, NGOs, foundations, cooperatives, producers' associations, public-private partnerships, and other organizations that have experience in providing financial and basic services, as well as business development for entrepreneurs with scarce resources.