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OAS Secretary General Inaugurated IV Inter-American Dialogue of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

  April 16, 2015

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today inaugurated the IV Inter-American Dialogue of High-Level Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Authorities, with a call for member states to consolidate their achievements in support of small and medium businesses of the region, and to coordinate efforts to allow this sector to contribute to the inclusive economic development of the region.

“MSMEs continue to be the backbone of the productive structure of the Americas,” said Secretary General Insulza. Supporting this sector is crucial, added the Secretary General, given its role in the search for equitable economic development. “It is clear that much remains to be done to take advantage of everything these businesses can offer as generators of productive employment, and as generators of innovative products and services with global reach,” he added.

The OAS leader highlighted the progress made in recent years to build a base that continues the joint efforts to support this sector. Among them, he cited the strengthening of programs in support of MSMEs in the member countries, the creation of ministries and vice ministries in charge of the MSME agendas, and the adaptation in Central American and Caribbean countries of the business development centers of the United States. In addition, he noted as an example the Dialogue itself that opened today, which is now in its fourth edition and has new partners in the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations (ECLAC), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), and the Center for the Promotion of Micro and Small Business in Central America (CENPROMYPE), among others.

“We must continue working and coordinating our efforts and, from this point of view, we understand this Dialogue as part of the task of continuing what we have been doing for a decade and a half, and at the same time as an opportunity to promote to a greater degree the collective effort and coordination between us,” said the leader of the hemispheric institution. “We must ensure, moreover, that support mechanisms needed to ensure that agreements reached are translated into concrete results in benefit of our countries are established,” he concluded.

For her part, the Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the OAS, Sherry Tross, said “part of the continued push for improvement must be the cultivation of entrepreneurship ecosystems that harness the power of innovation and technology for more competitive SMEs. There must also be a concerted effort to engage all of our citizenry; an inclusive approach that provides opportunity for youth, women and populations living in situations of vulnerability.”

In addition, Executive Secretary Tross announced that, next week, the OAS will organize, together with the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State, the Third Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE), in which economic development leaders from 26 member states from the private sector, regional governments, universities and entrepreneurs will visit successful innovation hubs and entrepreneurship initiatives in the U.S. states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. The Exchange, explained Tross, aims “to inspire more concrete collaboration among member states and serve as catalyst for business to business exchanges.”

The IV Inter-American Dialogue of High-Level MSME Authorities is taking place at OAS headquarters in Washington DC today and tomorrow, and brings together high authorities in the sector to discuss and exchange visions and experiences that favor the identification of opportunities for horizontal cooperation. Among the issues to be debated by the participants are: promoting an ecosystem for entrepreneurship and development of MSMEs;” “Linking start-ups and technology-based SMEs with high-value markets:A Networking Pitch Session with Venture Capitalists;” “Fostering MSME innovation;” “the challenge of access to finance for MSMEs;” “Internationalization of MSMEs;” and “MSME support institution and horizontal cooperation experiences.”

At the conclusion of the inaugural ceremony of the event, the Government of El Salvador delivered a special recognition to the OAS and Secretary General Insulza for their support through dialogue to the strengthening of MSMEs in the country. In particular, the Salvadoran government expressed its thanks for the role of the Organization in the adaptation and implementation in the Central American country of the Small Business Development Center model from the United States, with the support of the Regional Center for MSME Promotion (CENPROMYPE).

More information on the event is available here.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-140/15