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MIF and Mercy Corps to provide online mentoring to entrepreneurs in Mexico and Guatemala

Sep 5, 2013

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, recently approved a project with Mercy Corps Guatemala that will help 1,500 micro and small enterprise (MSE) owners in Mexico and Guatemala make their businesses thrive through professional mentoring relationships facilitated by an innovative online platform: MicroMentor. MicroMentor is a proven online mentoring platform – currently operated by MercyCorps in the US – that will be adapted to meet the needs and specifications of MSEs in Mexico and Guatemala.

MSEs have the potential to become significant drivers of sustainable economic development. However, many Latin American and Caribbean MSE owners lack the resources and knowledge required to grow successful businesses. Challenges include limited business skills, inadequate financing opportunities, information asymmetries, and an overall lack of access to social capital like networks, expertise, and markets. These difficulties are especially magnified for women entrepreneurs.

Formal mentoring programs enable entrepreneurs to develop the business skills they need and
provide access to new networks and markets. Unfortunately, to date, providing entrepreneurs with access to mentors has proven costly to provide and difficult to standardize and scale. With the launch of this project, small business owners will be able to access and leverage thevaluable knowledge and expertise of seasoned professionals across a diverse range of
industries. In order to achieve this, MicroMentor will partner with a network of affiliates (such as microfinance institutions, chambers of commerce, NGOs, banks, and incubators) to deliver a two-level service – an online platform and technical assistance support.

Within the platform entrepreneurs will create “mentoring requests” focused on a specific business objective — from creating business plans or preparing to secure investment capital, to addressing cash flow problems or generating new-market entry strategies — and receive “mentoring offers” from prospective mentors with relevant skills, training and experience. Mentoring offers include: legal advisory services about standards and business formalization procedures, financial advice, guidance on product development, business marketing support, and advice on expanding networks of relevant business contacts. 

Mercy Corps will try to forge strategic partnerships with large companies with a
substantial presence in the region, allowing for the widespread dissemination of its positive impactand garnering broader support in the region.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefitting low-income populations and the poor - their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them the tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory - experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks in order to build and support successful micro and SME business models. More information at

About Mercy Corps Guatemala

Mercy Corps Guatemala (MCG) is considered a pioneer in the area of social innovation and has successfully incubated and launched a number of social enterprises. MCG’s mission is to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities across the globe. Mercy Corps has been operating in Guatemala since 2002 and has a recognized presence and strong local team. More information available at

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