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February 2012

One step closer to Establishing Small Business Development Centers across BELIZE!


Belize is one step closer to realizing the establishment of Small Business Development Centers across the country! The Organization of American States (OAS) has advised that Belize will be part of the five-country pilot project, funded by the United States government through the United States Mission to the OAS, to expand the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) model to the CARICOM region. This selection was based on the assessment submitted by Belize identifying its institutional framework for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and how the SBDC model could be adapted to suit its own unique realities.

Since last year, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide) has done significant ground work in researching the success of the SBDC model in the US, Mexico and Central America and more importantly, its applicability to Belize. MSMEs represent a significant share of economic activity in Belize, a key instrument in poverty alleviation, and are considered a principal employer of the labour force. Given the importance of this sector, BELTRAIDE has given priority to its growth and development and has adopted a holistic approach that will facilitate targeted interventions to address the challenges faced. The work ahead requires partnerships with key stakeholders and BELTRAIDE has been reaching out to private sector, public sector and academia.

Beltraide is partnering with the Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to ensure that MSMEs are adequately prepared to access financing and manage their business in a sustainable manner. DFC, since the restart of lending in June 2009, has provided a total of $4.27 million for financing projects in the micro business sector to almost 500 small enterprises. Micro loans are clasified by DFC as loans not exceeding $40,000. There has been high demand in the services sectors for garages, internet cafes, distribution of goods, retail services, transportation (taxis), small restaurants and food stalls (DFC, MSE report, Oct, 2011).The support of the Small Business Development Center will improve the chances of loan approvals to the MSMEs, and will offer the necessary business support to facilitate their competitiveness, export readiness; thereby assisting them to develop their competences and significantly increase their chances of accessing both domestic and international funding.

A one-day consultation will be held, at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza, on Friday, March 2nd, 2012 to initiate the process towards “Adapting the SBDC Model.” This consultation will be organized with the objective of presenting the model and obtaining stakeholder’s feedback on the feasibility of successfully implementing it within the context of Belize and determining their interest in being part of the process.

For more information, please contact:

Belize Trade and Investment Service (BELTRAIDE)

14 Orchid Garden St., City of Belmopan, Cayo District, Belize

Tel: 501-822-3607

Fax: 501-822-0595

Email: beltraide@belizeinvest.org.bz

nilda@belizeinvest.org.bz

Web Address: www.belizeinvest.org.bz

Technical Assistance Workshop on Logistics for Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) of Belize


The Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (BELTRAIDE) in collaboration with the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), and Scotia Bank of Belize, is facilitating a Technical Assistance (TA) workshop, on logistics as part of our commitment to develop and enhance the export capacity and competiveness of SMEs in Belize. It will be held at the Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) conference room, 4792 Coney Drive, Belize City, on February 29th to March 1st 2012 starting at 8:30am.

IIC has developed the FINPYME Program (Innovative Financing for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)) as a diagnostic tool for SMEs; intended to help them improve their competiveness and facilitate their access to potential sources of financing. Phase 1 of this program was launched in 2009, whereby thirteen (13) companies were examined to assess their competitiveness which was conducted by Belizean consultants.  Phase 2 of this program is the Group Technical Assistance workshops with the continued objective of enhancing their competiveness.

The Logistics Technical Assistance workshop will include topics such as:

Shipping requirements and procedures,

Modes of transportation,

Shipping routes,

Frequencies and costs,

Insurance,

Supporting infrastructures,

Regulatory bodies,

Inventory management,

Role of Government & supporting agencies, and

Trends and future development including case studies.

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact:

Belize Trade and Investment Development Service (Beltraide)

14 Orchid Garden St., City of Belmopan, Cayo District, Belize

Tel: 501-822-3607

Fax: 501-822-0595

Email: beltraide@belizeinvest.org.bz

nilda@belizeinvest.org.bz

Web Address: www.belizeinvest.org.bz

U.S. Supports Launch of Caribbean Small Business Development Centers Project


Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
February 24, 2012

In a ceremony today at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Carmen Lomellin, U.S. Permanent Representative to the regional body, announced U.S. support for the launch of the “Caribbean Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)” expansion project, an initiative to promote the development of competitive, productive, and innovative small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Hemisphere.

The project will create a network of sustainable and successful small business assistance networks in Saint Lucia, Dominica, Belize, Jamaica, and Barbados. The newly created network of Caribbean small business development centers will eventually be linked with similar existing programs located throughout the United States, Mexico, Colombia, and Central America to share best practices, and to promote cooperation and support productivity and sustainable economic growth. Continue reading “U.S. Supports Launch of Caribbean Small Business Development Centers Project”

BELTRAIDE creating publicity on Micro, small and Medium Entreprises’ (MSMEs) Policy and Strategy


Mr. Michel Singh on Love FM newscast!

 

EU trade official: China opening too slowly


Posted By David Bosco Thursday, February 16, 2012 – 5:18 PM Share

The European Union’s trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, delivered a tough speech on free trade today in Shanghai. He warned that G20 attempts to prevent a new rash of trade restrictions have been only minimally successful:

Instead of being dismantled, as the G20 countries have promised, the number of
protectionist measures put in place since the crisis has increased. 425 of the
potentially trade-restrictive measures that were installed since the onset of the crisis
remain in force, whereas only 71 have been removed to date. Over the last twelve
months a total of 131 new measures were introduced.

Continue reading “EU trade official: China opening too slowly”

Message from the Executive Chairman of BELTRAIDE


A little under a year ago, BELTRAIDE commenced a revitalization of its mandate to develop private sector opportunities in Belize.  The organization’s new face now includes not only a renovated office facility, but also the creation of new departments staffed with dynamic, qualified people with keen focus on business and investor support who are responsive to a constantly changing environment.

The organization’s new board of directors has authorized the new direction for BELTRAIDE through the adoption of new Vision and Mission Statements, following a board retreat on October 18, 2011.  This new Vision states that BELTRAIDE exists to “enable a dynamic and competitive business environment for Belize socio-economic development”.  In order to realize this Vision, the organization will pursue a mission to “enhance Belize’s prosperity by fostering investor confidence, entrepreneurship, business growth and innovation.”

In an effort to meet its new mandate, BELTRAIDE’s new structure includes the development of three core areas of focus: Projects and Policy support, Business Development, and Business Facilitation.

Continue reading “Message from the Executive Chairman of BELTRAIDE”

National CARICOM MSMEs Consultations –MSMEs Regional Bill


The Small Business Bureau, Ministry of Tourism, Industry and Commerce and the CARICOM SECRETARIAT are collaborating on a National Consultation for Belize’s Small and Medium Enterprise sector. This National Consultation was conducted following directions given at the Thirty-Second Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) which undertook:

  1. Needs Analysis of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Business Support Organisations (BSOs)
  2. Discussion on  Draft Model Bill for Small and Medium Enterprises
  3. Discussion on Draft Strategic Plan

The National Consultations conducted in all Member States intends to provide the basis for improving the overall competitiveness of the SME Sector. The consultations addressed the –

(i)             Identification of the needs of SME Business Support Organisations, with a view to soliciting the assistance of the International Donor Community for further institutional capacity building support for BSOs;

(ii)            Development of a Final Draft Regional Strategic Plan for SMEs, in concurrence with the specific needs of the SME Sector in individual Member States; and

(iii)         Preparation of a harmonized SME Model Bill for adoption by Member States.  The Model Bill is intended to harmonize the legislative framework for SMEs, which would in turn facilitate cross-border expansion of SMEs within the CSME and generally increase the competitiveness of the SME Sector.

Presentation on the two documents was delivered by Ms. Leela Ramoutar, Specialist, Private Sector Facilitation CARICOM Secretariat and a representative of the Legal and Institutional Framework Unit of the CARICOM SECRETARIAT.

BELTRAIDE participates in BTIA’s 26th Annual General Meeting


The BTIA held their 26th Annual General Meeting on December 1, 2011 at the Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina. President Jim Scott gave the opening remarks and introduced Mr. Efren Perez as the BTIA’s new Executive Director. In his address, Mr. Scott highlighted the importance to appeal to the Latin American market where great potential exists.

BTIA will launch their new website the week of December 5, 2011 which has been made more user-friendly. The previous website was targeted more towards its members; however, the new design will be more accessible for anyone browsing their website, including non-members.

A proposed membership structure was presented to BTIA members. From having over 20 categories, the new structure proposes to now have 9 categories. There will be 3 main categories with 3 sub-categories. The membership fee and benefits will vary depending on the type of membership being sought. A brief description is listed below:

  1. Individual – Student, Associate & Full Membership
  2. Business – Small ($500), Medium ($1,000) & Large ($,1500)
  3. Sponsors – Gold ($5,000), Platinum ($10,000) & Diamond ($15,000).

One of BTIA’s goals as described by President Jim Scott is to engage students and develop the capacity of young professionals across the country as they are the industry’s future. Trainings have been carried out in collaboration with the BTB to provide capacity building within the industry.

BETEX (Belize Tourism Expo) 2012 will be held from April 25-27, 2012. The proposed venue is Princess Hotel in Belize City but this has not been finalized. The BETEX committee proposes to have a centralized marketplace and post tours. Exhibitor Registration Fee is $2,000 but a 20% was being offered to BTIA members at the AGM. Further information can be obtained at www.betex.bz.

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