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Latin America and Caribbean

Colombia Enterprise Development (CED) Program


Client: United States Agency for International Development

2003-2006, SEGIR GBTI

This program pursued USAID's strategic objectives to promote economic alternatives to coca production, improve municipal governance through stronger urban economies, and assist displaced populations through increased employment. The program focused on expanding and improving Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), particularly those located near illicit crop cultivation.

Watch a video on the project's results:

CARANA's approach was built on the conviction that Colombia already has many of the individuals and institutions needed to develop SMEs, allowing us to  rapidly provide integrated assistance. We organized our assistance into three areas based on international best practices:

  • CEDMarketing identified markets for SMEs using a “systems” approach to successfully launch companies into direct and indirect export markets, working in close collaboration with Expopyme and other capable institutions.
  • CEDConsulting created integrated Business Development Services (BDS) in tune with the specific needs of SMEs through certifiable consulting methodologies with existing institutions, certified diagnostic tools, and indirect training of SME consultants.
  • CEDFinance established a financial services clearinghouse that introduced “bankable” SMEs to Colombian financial services providers and trained the financial community on practices and instruments to profitably lend to such smaller enterprises.

CARANA worked with companies across the economic spectrum, from security agencies to food processors, apparel factories to toxic waste collectors. Our tailored assistance generated multiple successes, including the launch of a new line of yucca croquettes, improved mushroom growing techniques, a new trading company to unite several children's clothing makers, development of software to identify faults in a traffic control system, and training of middle managers to standardize production processes. Overall, participating firms increased sales an average 40 percent and added a total 14,000 jobs to Colombia's economy, well exceeding USAID's own goals.