GUADALAJARA, Mexico - The Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise (Foromic), the region's top event for supporting and financing the sector in Latin America and the Caribbean, got underway today with the theme "The productivity challenge: financing dynamic entrepreneurship," with 1,800 participants from 50 countries.
Opened by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Luis Alberto Moreno, among other officials, the 16th edition of the forum began with a call for enhancing support for microenterprises and small- and medium-sized companies so as to boost job creation and the economies of the countries of the region.
"The theme addressed this year by Foromic, 'The productivity challenge: financing dynamic entrepreneurship, coincides fully with the cross-cutting targets of this government and is part of the National Development Plan," said Peña Nieto.
"Today, 15 years after the first Foromic, which coincidentally was also held in Mexico, the microfinancing industry has matured," said the President of the IDB. "At that time there were fewer than 200 microfinancing entities serving around one million clients. Today there are more than one million active institutions that serve nearly 20 million micro-credit customers."
Organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB group, in collaboration with the Government of Mexico, Foromic is attended by investors, representatives of microfinancing institutions, development agencies, consulting companies and governmental authorities.
Peña Nieto and Moreno handed out the Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation. The recipients included microfinancing agency Crecer, from Bolivia, which took the Award for Financial Inclusion; the Mexican company Inventive Power, which took the Green Business Award; and the Brazilian venture capital firm Stratus Group, which won the High-Impact Fund Manager Award. At the same time the Mexican cooperative Noxtli won the award for Excellence and Sustainability in Mexican Microenterprise.
The IDB president signed four cooperation agreements for projects financed by the MIF. With a total contribution of $2 million, the first project will be carried out by Banco Nacional de México, S.A (Banamex) and aims to strengthen 45,000 small- and medium-size companies in the areas of energy efficiency and "green" credit products for small and medium sized companies to invest in energy efficient equipment.
The second project will include financing of $1.35 million and will be carried out by Mercy Corps Guatemala. Its goal is to promote the growth and development of microenterprises and small- and medium-size companies by helping them gain access to new networks and markets in Guatemala. The project will also address the challenges of broadening access to efficient business consulting services through the online platform MicroMentor.
A cooperation agreement was also signed for a $797,720 project administered by the municipal government of Tequila, which will seek to develop a public-private partnership model to provide basic services to low-income families that reside there. Finally, the Insurance Corporation of Belize(ICB) will seek to increase formal insurance coverage for low-income persons in that country via a $1million project that will offer affordable property insurance for members of credit cooperatives whot live in rural areas and work in the country´s farm sector.
In coordination with the Economy Ministry, PRONAFIM and the government of the state of Jalisco, Foromic also celebrated Mexico Day, beginning with an address from the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and Public Credit, Fernando Aportela Rodríguez. The program analyzed the evolution and future of microfinance in Mexico 15 years after the first Foromic, also held in Mexico. Mexico Day also examined the development of microfinancing services from the perspectives of protecting micro-entrepreneurs and the institutional development of microfinancing entities.
Among the main issues to be addressed in the Foromic agenda are innovation in products and services to achieve financial inclusion; financial education of young people; the development of microenterprises and small companies; green financing; micro-insurance; savings and remittances; responsible financing and dynamic financing of companies.