Barbados to host regional economic forum

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says Barbados will this year host the 15th Inter-American Microenterprise Forum (Foromic 2012), the biggest annual microfinance and microenterprise development event in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Washington-based financial institution said on Aug. 10 that more than 1,000 participants are expected to attend Foromic, which for the first time ever will be held in an English-speaking Caribbean country.

The IDB said the Oct. 1–3 event will focus on “innovative ways to unlock entrepreneurship.”

It is being organized by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, in collaboration with the Government of Barbados.

The IDB said impact investors and delegates from financial and microfinance institutions, associations of micro-entrepreneurs, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, foundations and the academia working in the sector will participate in the forum.

The first day of the conference focuses on Barbados and the Caribbean, with panels discussing development opportunities for small businesses, microfinance, entrepreneurship among youth and women, and emerging business from renewable energies, the IDB said.

It said the second day will highlight innovative financing models for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as expanding business models to provide financial services for the poor beyond microfinance to include savings.

“As in previous years, the latest developments in microfinance are at the center of the event, which will have panels presenting lessons learned about the effective use of new technologies in providing financial services, improvements in corporate governance, and promising innovations in rural and agricultural finance,” the IDB said.

It said the final day will feature panels on impact investing as an opportunity for the Caribbean, and ways to unlock women entrepreneurship.

The IDB said the conference will close with a seminar on improving client protection and financing models to finance green businesses, particularly related to renewable energy and energy efficiency.

During the event’s inauguration, the IDB said the MIF will deliver the Inter-American Awards for Microenterprise Development, including best microfinance and micro-savings institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the best institution promoting livelihoods opportunities for disadvantaged youth.

During the inauguration, the MIF will announce the winner of the award for excellence in local entrepreneurship in Barbados, sponsored by Citi Foundation, the IDB said.

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