The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, with support from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and in collaboration with the Caribbean Association of Banks (CAB), on October 20 launched a workshop in Castries to help Caribbean financial institutions better serve the banking needs of small and medium enterprises.
The Caribbean is home to approximately 2.2 million micro, small and medium enterprises, which are essential to creating jobs and providing goods and services.Yet one third of these entrepreneurs identify access to credit as a key obstacle to growing their businesses, according to IFC.
“SMEs are a fast growing sector and the engine of growth in many economies. The CAB therefore, supports every effort to provide training and build capacity within the sector,” said Ms. Joanna Charles, President of the Caribbean Association of Banks. “Banks are encouraged to consider SME financing as one of their top strategic priorities.”
The World Bank Group Enterprise Risk Surveys identify access to finance as one of the top three constraints for businesses in most English-speaking Caribbean countries. The goal of the training is to strengthen the capacity of banks in these countries to serve small and medium entrepreneurs by building their skills in key areas and sharing best practices and lessons from similar regions. This includes training in how to develop a business model and strategy for attracting small and medium enterprises, credit risk management for these portfolios, and human resource needs for lending to small and medium enterprises.
“IFC is committed to supporting a more inclusive financial marketplace in the Caribbean. This training is a chance for banks and other financial institutions to grow their portfolios while helping local entrepreneurs,” said Luc Grillet, IFC Senior Manager for the Caribbean and Central America. “With our partners at the Caribbean Association of Banks and DFATD, we hope to increase access to credit for entrepreneurs who are working hard to build and expand their businesses.”
As of Fiscal Year 2015, IFC had a committed portfolio of $760 million in projects in the Caribbean, including $100 million mobilized from partner institutions. IFC implements programs to improve the business climate, build the skills of local entrepreneurs, and promote access to finance. Our Caribbean strategy focuses on promoting job creation and inclusive growth; helping the private sector respond to the global financial crisis; supporting innovation, competitiveness and regional integration; and providing investments that help companies adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.