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FOROMIC fails to meet small business expectations

Delegates at the conference checking out one of the exhibits.

One major aspect of FOROMIC, the Latin American and Caribbean forum on micro-financing, has failed to meet the expectations of small businesses in Barbados.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Small Business Association, Lynette Holder told Barbados TODAY this afternoon, that members who participated in the three-day forum at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, were disappointed with the content of the plenary sessions as they related to individual micro, small and medium sized enterprises in this country.

She said while lessons were learnt about the tried and proven business models from across the hemisphere, all of the information was targeted at the various financing institutions, business leaders and policy-makers to assist them in strengthening capacity and administrative capabilities. However, she pointed out, that there was nothing which informed individual small business owners on how they could apply to the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund for crucial financing.

The SBA’s CEO said the MIF-sponsored conference provided a wealth of information to the institutions, which would indirectly assist small businesses.

“But our members who took three days off from running their businesses to take part in a forum which they expected would tell them how they could apply for funding to the MIF, did not hear any of that,” reported Holder.

She said she hoped that the post mortem would consider that issue for the next FOROMIC, considering that access to funding was the key determining factor for the survival of small businesses.

Holder did have some good news though about which small businesses were delighted.

She said they all agreed that networking with representatives of financial service providers and other businesses executives from across Latin America and the Caribbean, was great.

“Members were able to exchange business cards and contact information,” added Holder.

The small business association leader was also happy with the feedback she had been receiving from the crafts persons whose booths were set up at the conference centre. She noted that these micro and small enterprise owners were making money because the overseas delegates were buying their products.

They were also net working as well, which is good,” asserted Holder.

FOROMIC Barbados 2012, was the first time an English-speaking Caribbean country was hosting this major conference, which grew from 205 institutions and 1.5 million clients at its inception in 1998, to 600 institutions and 12.5 million clients with over US15 billion in loans in 2011.(EJ)

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