Press Releases
print

Republic Bank, IBM, and IFC Promote Guyana’s Small and Medium Enterprises Competitiveness


In IFC
Clara Ugarte Perrin

Phone: 511-611-2501

E-mail:
cugarteperrin@ifc.org

In Republic Bank (Guyana) Ltd.
Michelle Johnson

Phone: 592-2237938 to 49 Ext. 2606

E-mail:
michelle.johnson@republicguyana.com


Georgetown, Guyana, March 4, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, IBM, and Republic Bank Ltd. today launched the SME Toolkit Caribbean – a free, online platform to help small and medium enterprises improve their performance and have a more meaningful developmental impact within the local economy.  

Republic Bank has customized the platform and content to meet Caribbean-specific business reality and needs. It can be accessed at smetoolkitcaribbean.republicguyana.com.


Republic Bank’s Managing Director, Edwin Gooding, said, “Access to business information is crucial to our clients’ sustained success. With today’s launch of the SME Toolkit Caribbean, Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited  commits to providing SMEs with information to maximize their business potential.”


The SME Toolkit Caribbean provides small business owners with free, online, easy, and around-the-clock access to expert information, including  business forms, tools, how-to-articles, free software, and advice about accessing markets. It also features online forums and conferences to increase direct interaction among SMEs. Globally, it has been launched in 17 languages, in more than 30 markets, and receives over 5 million unique visitors per year. In 2006, IFC partnered with IBM to strengthen and expand the toolkit’s capabilities. To date, IBM has invested more than $3 million to co-develop the product on an open-source platform, offering innovative and collaborative features.


“Making the SME Toolkit available in Guyana shows IFC’s commitment to helping small businesses grow, expand, and improve their performance to become successful,” said IFC Representative Elvira Van Daele. “The SME Toolkit is key to supporting private sector sustainability in Guyana. This support will help create new job opportunities in a difficult market context.”

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by promoting SMEs economic growth and development. Since its founding in 1956, IFC has committed $1.25 billion in the Caribbean's private sector. IFC’s strategy aims to diversify the economies and strengthen private sector competitiveness to stimulate economic growth and job creation.


Republic Bank first launched the SME Toolkit Caribbean in Trinidad and Tobago in July 2009 and it has already provided over 25,000 Caribbean SMEs access to relevant information and online training.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

For more information about Republic Bank, please go to:
www.republicguyana.com.
For more information about IBM, please visit:
www.ibm.com.  IBM’s Corporate Responsibility Report is available at: www.ibm.com/responsibility/.