IDB and La Inmaculada Credit Union sign Agreement to promote Social Entrepreneurship Print E-mail
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Thursday, 21 March 2013 00:00

(From left to right)  MIF Operations Consultant - Ishmael Quiroz;  LICU General Manager  - Yolanda Gomez; IDB Representative  -  Anneke JessenThe Inter-American Development Bank and La Inmaculada Credit Union (LICU) signed an agreement in Belize City on March 8th, 2013 for a project designed to support social entrepreneurship and integration through microfinancing and capacity-building for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).  The specific purpose of the project is to contribute to economic diversification in the districts of Orange Walk, Corozal and Cayo and has the overarching goal of improving the standards of living of rural low-income communities in northern Belize. The project will be financed through a US million contribution from the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, and by additional counterpart contributions from LICU that will bring the total project value to over US.38 million. 

The project has been developed under the MIF’s Social Entrepreneurship Program, which finances entrepreneurial solutions to poverty. It has two components, a reimbursable line of credit valued at US$750,000.00 for establishing a microfinance loan portfolio; and a non-reimbursable grant valued at US$250,000.00 to fund a technical cooperation program which will provide institutional strengthening for LICU and for the development of a training program tailored to MSME needs for enhanced entrepreneurial capabilities.    The project will work with LICU to develop opportunities for entrepreneurs from low-income communities in diversified economic activities; enhance technical capacity in basic financial and business management skills; and strengthen LICU’s human resources for improved delivery of financial services. 

Some 400 entrepreneurs, their families and wider communities are expected to benefit from technical strengthening and improved access to finance as a result of this project. Over the next three years, the project will seek to improve the standards of living of rural low-income populations through training in financial literacy and small business management.  A non-traditional economic activities portfolio of US$ 1 million at LICU is also anticipated by the end of this three-year project.  The project will complement the services to be offered by LICU’s soon to be established Small Scale Enterprise Development and Training Center (SSEDAT), the first business development center to be established in northern Belize.

LICU has been an active participant in two Caribbean Capacity Building Projects (CARIBCAP I & II), also funded by the IDB/MIF, for institutional strengthening in the delivery of microfinance services.  At the end of first project, LICU won recognition from the MIF in Outstanding Performance in Capacity Building.  The institution also won the Caribbean region’s first ever Citi Foundation’s Microentrepreneur of the Year Award in 2012.

About the MIF
The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, farms, and households. The aim is to give these individuals and communities the tools with which to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. The MIF’s core mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models.  For more information, visit