Regional Development Banks Support Community-Based Sustainable Businesses

29 March 2012: The Multilateral Investment Fund (known as FOMIN in Spanish), part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) together with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), and The Nature Conservancy have launched the second stage of a fund aimed at supporting sustainable community living and business ventures in Latin America.

The EcoEnterprises Fund II, a biodiversity-focused fund, will direct capital to poverty-stricken rural communities in Latin America, financing community businesses that preserve natural ecosystems for future generations. The fund has a capitalization of US$20.5 million from various investors and has a decade experience in funding projects to promote innovative market solutions that benefit the rural poor and preserve critical ecosystems.

EcoEnterprises' first fund was launched jointly in 2000 by the MIF and The Nature Conservancy. According to IDB, during this first stage, companies have received support from the fund to introduce various cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly products, such as: organic shrimp to organic spices; FSC-certified furniture; pesticide-free, biodynamic flowers; and smoothies made from the açaí palm berry. Collectively, these businesses have created 3,513 jobs, benefited 293 communities and conservation groups, generated US$281 million in sales, leveraged US$138 million in additional capital, and conserved 860,773 hectares of land. [IDB Press Release]