Paraguay has more than 250,000 MSMEs. Most lack the capacity and technology to carry out good business management. The FOMIPYMES Project is designed to strengthen and expand assistance capacities to improve the performance of Paraguayan MSMEs, which will result in more competitive and sustainable businesses over time. A key aspect of the project is providing Taiwan's specialized knowledge and experience to specific business sectors.
The project provides technical assistance to support key business sectors through the following activities:
- Training courses in business management, business advice and sector-specific technical areas.
- Sector-specific research of the business environment for data-driven evidence-based design of new mechanisms.
- Provide the sector with specialized knowledge, and apply Taiwan's experience in assisted areas to provide greater knowledge.
- Organize a national MSMEs award to spotlight outstanding companies at the national level, and encourage and support companies in their development.
- Technical assistance for the development of new products and services in the assisted sector.
Lead Public Sector Agency: Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC)
Public Sector Partners: National University of Asunción (UNA), National University of Itapúa (UNI), Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADES), Ministry of Women, Ministry of Youth (SNJ), Paraguayan Institute of Crafts (IPA), Agricultural Credit (CAH).
Private Sector Partners: Paraguayan Industrial Union (UIP), Industrial Association of Garment Manufacturers of Paraguay (AICP), Paraguayan Herb Center (CYP), Paraguayan Foundation.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC) chose the project's target sectors after several evaluation workshops organized by MIC, the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the National University of Asunción (FCE - UNA), and the Technical Mission of Taiwan in Paraguay. The expert evaluators based their deliberations on statistical and census data provided by MIC and FCE UNA technicians.
The result of the workshop was a consensus that the project should focus on following four business sectors: textiles, yerba mate, leather and dairy.
2018: Project design and development of a Technical Assistance Agreement
2019: Begin implementation with focus on the textile sector
2020: Focus on the yerba mate sector
2021: Focus on the leather sector
2022: Focus on the dairy sector.
The implementers will conduct diagnostic analysis of each sector to baseline the existing state of the the target sector and evaluate progress while assistance is provided.
In 2019, the first edition of the National Mipymes Award ceremony was held. Awards were given to companies in four categories. The winners were:
- Empowerment of Women: La Caramella
- Entrepreneurial Youth: Botanical Store
- Climate Action: Mboja’o
- Fair Trade: Maitei Blends
For the 2020 National Mipymes Awards ceremony, awards were given in the four original categories and two new categories were added: Excellence, and Social and Environmental Responsibility. The Excellence category recognizes MSMEs that are excellent in their community. MIC and its public and private sector partners added this category to encourage the participation of companies from the interior, since a winning company is chosen from each of Paraguay's six regions, which then compete for the national award.
During the registration process, the implementers organized a series of free webinars for the companies in order to strengthen management and innovation capacities, increase sales, and explore opportunities for transiting to e-commerce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the 2020 Awards ceremony, PNM received 619 registrations. The implementers contracted with consulting teams to conduct technical visits to the selected companies in different the six regions. The consultants visited 295 companies during the award pre-selection phase.
Of the 295 companies, 50 MSMEs were shortlisted, five per category and five per region. The finalists in the Excellence category received a technical assistance award valued at US $1,500:
- Region 1: Sweet Manjar
- Region 2: Ysapy
- Region 3: Elva Confecciones
- Region 4: Tava Glamping
- Region 5: Mandio Pizza
- Region 6: Prolimp
The winning MSMEs in the four original categories received a technical assistance worth US $4,750. The Excellence Award winner received additional technical assistance of US $3,500, thus adding a total of technical assistance valued at US $5,000. In addition to technical assistance, each of the five winning MSMEs received a computer courtesy of the National Youth Secretariat.
The winning MSMEs by category were:
- Empowerment of Women: Delibebé & Kids
- Entrepreneurial Youth: Mitãis
- Climate Action: Paraguay Business Group S.R.L. - Jerovia
- Fair Trade: Cheli Natural
- Excellence: Tava Glamping
After assisting several MSMEs in the textile and clothing sector in 2019, the Yaguaron Association of Confectioners and Related Workers was able to assist with COVID-19 response by contributing masks for community use and hospital gowns in 2020. In addition, the FOMIPYMES Project supported the preparation of a Manual of Good Practices by the Industrial Association of Garment Manufacturers of Paraguay (AICP). The manual contains a set of procedures for the production of masks for community use, which allows companies to apply to receive a seal of quality. The seal is a differentiating element for sales of face masks because it incorporates criteria and good practices for their manufacture.
Training was also carried out for more than 80 garment makers from different regions of the country on how to implement the good practices standards in the production of face masks for community use through video-conference platforms.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 required the project leaders shift the way project activities were implemented. Planned FOMIPYMES Project training and activities were carried out either remotely or in-person. Training programs for companies in the textile and yerba mate sectors were redesigned to focus on how to utilize e-commerce to increase its sales. In person courses for companies registered for the 2020 National MSMEs Award to strengthen their management and innovation capacities required new safety protocols be put in place to comply with local government public health measures.
The support of the Vice Ministry of MSMEs of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Paraguay made the project possible. But, successful partnerships developed by the project leader with unions in priority sectors (textile and yerba mate sectors) in 2019 and 2020 respectively strengthened the project. In addition, the direct collaboration of educational institutions such as the National University of Asunción and the National University of Itapúa, strengthened the delivery of technical knowledge in specific areas and improved company management.
The Project resulted in new sector-specific networks in both the public and private sectors, which expanded capacities to assist MSMEs, empowering more companies to serve at the country level.