by Kristen Ku
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Nov. 9, 2023
Atlantic Bank has secured a $30 million loan from IDB Invest, part of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, to make funding available to Belize’s MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises).
The deal, signed in Miami, not only provides medium-term financing to these vital enterprises but also ensures advisory services to Atlantic Bank to enhance its MSME strategy, especially for women-led businesses.
This follows a similar, previously successful $20 million facility in 2020.
Greg Maheia, managing director of the bank, in describing a comprehensive evaluation of local MSMEs’ financial needs and growth that was carried out, noted, “Our success in securing this latest $30 million facility reflects a combination of strategic planning, thorough analysis, and effective communication throughout the entire process.”
The bank’s approach to determining MSME eligibility is centered on the financial stability and management competence of businesses.
“We engage closely with our MSME customers to build trust and strengthen their understanding of the criteria used to assess their creditworthiness. It is crucial to note that our requirements are flexible to help support businesses at all stages of their life cycle,” he said.
An MSME’s financial stability, ability to repay loans, the viability of its business plan, and the competence of management will be assessed to determine whether financing will be granted.
A significant focus of Atlantic Bank under this new agreement is to support women-led MSMEs through gender-inclusive policies, flexible collateral requirements, research and data collection, and strategic partnerships, according to Maheia. “By collecting gender-disaggregated data, we can help identify trends and tailor interventions more effectively,” he said.
Maheia envisions “economic growth and job creation, increased innovation and competition, diversification of the economy, poverty alleviation, community development, and strengthening supply chains.”
The loan has the potential of channeling financing to 70% of Belizeans employed by MSMEs, particularly within the service industry.