Infomipyme/ Network: Management Toolboxes for MSMEs - A Regional BDS Product , GTZ Latin America & Caribbean, 2004

    Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) are the main employers in Central America and the Caribbean, but about 70% of them leave the market shortly after their founding because they are not competitive enough on a local, much less an international, level. A major reason for this failure rate results from entrepreneurs' insufficient management knowledge and lack of instruments such as business plans, cash flow projections, and basic marketing skills. The absence of an adequate information system for MSMEs, good communication and cooperation between information service providers, and minimal use of ICT to diffuse and utilize knowledge all contribute to the information vacuum.

    GTZ, with projects in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, has initiated "Red de Cajas de Herramientas de Gestión Empresarial para MIPYME en Centroamérica y el Caribe" (Network: Management Toolboxes for MSMEs) to address these problems. The Infomipyme network is a web-based information system for MSMEs that provides selected and up-to-date information for two groups 1) MSMEs in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic and 2) consultants, trainers, and staff of private and public organizations providing services to MSMEs in the region.

    During the planning phase, participating GTZ programs invited their national partners to take part in the initiative, creating an alliance of national institutions in each country. GTZ created national and regional ownership by collaborating with all of these partners in developing the design and contents of the website. Following GTZ's clearly communicated exit strategy, more and more responsibility (institutional, technical, and financial) has gradually been taken over by the partners.

    Summary of results
    During its first year, the network saw around 6,000 entries/month. These began to increase dramatically in August 2003 with the average through June 2004 rising to 24,600 entries/month.