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International development

A cooperation agreement between Canada and Colombia to support Colombia's micro, small and medium enterprises

September 11, 2020

Développement international Desjardins (DID) and Banca de las Oportunidades have teamed up for the Graduar PYMES project to provide technical support to 4 financial institutions in Colombia that work with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs): Banco Mundo Mujer, Contactar, Finanfuturo and Interactuar.

The project's goal is to develop specialized financial services tailored to the needs of MSMEs, especially those that are growing. DID will help spur the businesses' growth and set them up for formalization and success by developing new credit management methodologies, support mechanisms adapted to women entrepreneurs and new services to encourage entrepreneurship.

The 4 financial institutions involved in the project will be able to offer lines of credit with higher limits, which are currently between 5 and 350 million Colombian pesos (or between 1,750 and 125,000 Canadian dollars). The project will be available to some 2,700 MSMEs in Antioquia, Eje Cafetero, Nariño, Cauca and Valle del Cauca.

Positive change for the entire country

"MSMEs play a key role in strengthening the Colombian economy, and yet they still face significant challenges accessing suitable financial services when they need them most," according to Marcel Lebleu, Canadian ambassador to Colombia. "If these businesses are given the opportunity to grow and if entrepreneurs can improve their standard of living, communities across Colombia will thrive, which will translate into positive change for the entire country. This can be a particularly effective way to restart the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The Canadian government has supported the Graduar PYMES project since its inception in September 2018 and believes that gender equality and equal opportunity are essential to ensure inclusive and sustainable growth.