News Releases

UWI and IIC partner to aid SMEs through FINPYME

For Release Upon Receipt - March 12, 2009

St. Augustine


The University of the West Indies (UWI) is joining forces with the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) in a programme designed to increase the competitiveness of businesses in Trinidad and Tobago and across the Caribbean. The programme, called FINPYME (pronounced ‘feen-pee-may’), aims to make medium and long-term sources of financing more accessible for small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) throughout the region.   

“The FINPYME programme is an attempt to solve problems that we see in a lot of organisations,” said Michael Apel, IIC Technical Assistance Officer. “A lot of SMEs suffer from a lack of long-term financing because they are unable to provide the financial information that the lending institution needs in order to take the decision to give a long-term loan.”

Financial institutions, such as IIC, have realized the challenges that SMEs face and have developed programmes such as FINPYME to assist them.

Jorge Roldán, Chief of the IIC’s Technical Assistance and Strategic Partnerships Division, further explained the rationale behind this approach, “We believe in the Caribbean region, in the strength of its small business sector, and in the spirit of its entrepreneurs.”

FINPYME is supported by a partnership agreement between Scotiabank and the IIC, which is the private sector arm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Once participating companies have been evaluated, Scotiabank and the IIC will work together with local business schools to conduct a series of diagnostic reviews, designed to identify and address specific weaknesses. Based on the results, FINPYME offers individual training and technical assistance, which are designed to help business people to address the identified vulnerabilities.

Participating schools include the UWI Mona School of Business (Jamaica), the UWI Cave Hill School of Business and Department of Management Studies (Barbados), the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business and the UWI Department of Management Studies (Trinidad).

“We train the lecturers on methodology, and with the knowledge that they gain, they conduct interviews with the help of their business students. The lecturers go through a set of 140 indicators that evaluate a wide range of issues within the company,” said Apel, explaining the philosophy behind including the business schools in this way. “The concept works mainly in two ways. First, it helps the SMEs to assess their strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, it helps the participating Business Schools to strengthen links with the local business sectors.”  UWI St Augustine Campus Principal, Professor Clement Sankat echoed the sentiment when he addressed a gathering of some 200 business reps at the official FINPYME TT media launch, which took place at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on March 10th.  

“In today’s financial climate, there is even greater demand from small businesses for technical advice and expertise. The FINPYME programme will help these businesses, and the University considers itself an important partner in the process. Working in close collaboration with our stakeholders is a strategic imperative for the University.”

The Trinidad and Tobago launch, which took place at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain on Tuesday 10th March, coincided with other launches in Barbados, Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica which also took place in March 2009. Other speakers at the TT launch included: Dr Emily Gaynor Dick-Forde, Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Planning, Housing and Environment; Dr Shelton Nicholls, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago; Mr Winston A. Cox, IIC Executive Director for the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago; Mr Iwan Sewberath Misser, IDB Country Representative in Trinidad and Tobago, and Mr Chong-On Won, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Republic of Korea. (FINPYME Caribbean is supported the Korea-IIC SME Development Trust Fund and the Austrian Trust Fund.)


Interested businesses are being invited to visit the official FINPYME website at or contact Dr Simon Fraser, Department of Management Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, UWI St Augustine at or (868) 683 4312.