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.
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/.