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MIF promotes community development through 40,000 neighborhood stores in Latin America

Mar 10, 2015

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, recently approved a technical cooperation grant of US$2.5 million for a regional project with the consulting firm FUNDES that will develop the business and social leadership skills of 40,000 proprietors of small neighborhood stores in six Latin American countries (Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, and Peru). This initiative seeks to improve the business and quality of life of shopkeepers and enhance their role as suppliers of goods and services in their communities.

In these six countries, there are approximately 780,000 small stores, 49% of which are located in low income areas, and nearly 80% of which are owned or run by women. Despite the prominent role such businesses play in supplying goods to their communities, which in many cases are remote and/or disadvantaged, they tend to be informal and have low productivity in terms of human, financial, and technical resources.

The approved project, which will be executed by FUNDES, will train shopkeepers to provide their communities with a range of information, products, and services, such as recycling and waste management programs, nonbank financial services, and information on public health, education, and domestic violence. 

The distribution networks, skills, and resources of SABMiller and other large companies will be used to reach into communities.

The pilot project “Progresando Juntos” in El Salvador, implemented by SABMiller and FUNDES, strengthened more than 1,000 shop owners. Based on the lessons learnt, the regional project will scale the project to six countries in the region,” said Estrella Peinado Vara, Senior Specialist at the MIF.

The MIF and FUNDES both have extensive experience in improving the business skills of small shopkeepers. The training offered by the project will emphasize gender equality, and will include financial education. A particularly innovative feature is the development of shopkeepers’ social leadership skills. In order to facilitate future scaling efforts, the project will have a monitoring and evaluation component to promote effective knowledge management.

This project has a total budget of $US10.4 million, of which US$2.5 million will be financed by the MIF. 
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 benefiting low-income populations and the poor—their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them 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 to build and support successful micro, small and medium business models. More information can be found
FUNDES Colombia, FUNDES El Salvador, FUNDES Honduras, and FUNDES Peru will be the executing agencies for this project. FUNDES is a consulting firm specialized in developing programs for corporations and governments that are looking to generate efficiency and innovation along value chains, economic sectors, or communities that include micro, small and medium size enterprises. As a regional private non-profit organization, FUNDES conducts projects in partnership with the private sector, government, and development organizations in order to improve the market access, profitability, and efficiency of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Latin America. Each year, more than 100 projects are executed that benefit approximately 10,000 MSEs in twelve Latin American countries. Learn more at

About SABMiller plc

SABMiller plc is one of the world’s leading brewers with more than 200 beer brands and some 70,000 employees in over 75 countries. The group’s portfolio includes global brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch; as well as leading local brands such as Aguila (Colombia), Castle (South Africa), Miller Lite (USA), Snow (China), Victoria Bitter (Australia) and Tyskie (Poland). SABMiller also has growing soft drinks businesses and is one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.

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