The CRS country representative, Holly Inurreta, and USAID´s Communities Leading Development (CLD) project management team recently met with authorities from the Ministry of Economy (MINECO) to present CLD´s experience in inclusive value chains programming and coordinate cooperation between the ministry and CRS/CLD.
The Minister of the Economy, Antonio Malouf, expressed great interest in providing effective services for local Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to stimulate local economies. Malouf recognized that it is essential to strengthen local economies and promote joint actions with allies, as well as to facilitate investments between public and private sectors.
During the session, representatives from Tierra Verde, one of the 22 MSMEs supported by CLD, presented results from business development process through CLD´s inclusive value chain programming, highlighting technical assistance and new market opportunities for their organic vegetable production. The Quetzaltenango-based MSME works with a network of low-income families to produce organic crops for consumption and marketing; actions are aimed at helping families strengthen food security and improve their socio-economic conditions.
Holly Innureta stated, “the Ministry of the Economy believes in the local economy, and his team was able to see how Tierra Verde is cascading the benefits to their farmers, a tangible product of our actions with local MSMEs”.
Regarding collaboration, CLD´s Acting Chief of Party, Lheslye Perez, highlighted the ministry’s interest in strengthening MSMEs business development, youth capacity strengthening, and entrepreneurship. “We have a common interest in bringing business development services closer to producers and small business,” she said.
Following the meeting, CLD will promote opportunities for at least 300 scholarships for youth in technical capacity strengthening and entrepreneurship through MINECO´s employment program. CRS and MINECO will continue conversations to identify opportunities to jointly strengthen local MSMEs through business development services and CRS´s Isidro Fund. In the process, CLD will identify lessons learned from youth and MSME joint interventions to advocate for further institutionalization of public-private partnerships.
“This meeting is important because we need to institutionalize the processes that derive from projects such as CLD. Local farmers and small businesses will continue to need support in economic development matters far beyond the project. The Ministry of Economy has the institutional and political commitment to support these actions.” – Ana Calderon, CLD´s Alliances and Leverage Manager.