After having supported 270 micro, small and medium-sized companies in the 8 previous editions, the Green Growth program launched its IX call with the aim of recruiting 50 more companies to start an innovation process to improve their environmental sustainability and their export profile. This program is led by the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER), in partnership with the CRUSA Foundation, the Development Banking System (SBD) and the National Learning Institute (INA). Each of the chosen companies will be able to access a figure of up to ₡9 million in seed capital, in addition to 12 hours of specialized technical advice.
Pedro Beirute Prada, general manager of PROCOMER, recalled that Costa Rica opted for sustainability several decades ago, therefore, continuing with initiatives such as the Green Growth program has become a priority for PROCOMER, since it increases competitiveness of the country by having companies increasingly committed to productive transformation and sustainable practices. “Costa Rica is a world benchmark for sustainability. This has allowed us to reach international markets with our exports and has also been a decisive factor in attracting foreign direct investment. That is why we continue to support national SMEs, so that they begin their transformation processes and that together we continue to build a country with better conditions and opportunities for everyone”, Beirute said.
Green Growth program
The IX call for the Green Growth program will be open until July 25th. To apply, companies must complete a form available on the page https://www.procomer.com/exportador/programas/crecimiento-verde/. The selected companies will be announced on September 7, 2023. “With Green Growth we have validated that sustainability is an invaluable tool that allows companies not only to mitigate the environmental impacts of their activity, but also to open up opportunities for innovation and the development of new products and services that favor productivity and entry into new markets. The demand for solutions that incorporate sustainable practices is constantly growing; by joining this change in the productive paradigm, companies undoubtedly become more competitive”, indicated Flora Montealegre, Executive Director of Fundación CRUSA.
Support for developing their projects
Francisco Gamboa Soto, Minister of Economy, Industry and Commerce and president of the Governing Council of the SBD, indicated that “we are pleased to support this program with non-reimbursable funds, so that enterprises and micro, small and medium-sized companies can develop their projects with resources that they could hardly obtain through a traditional credit. We celebrate that this is the first edition that occurs with the new SBD regulation, so this time there will be a marked vocation towards regions outside the Central Region, priority sectors and smaller companies”.
“For the INA it is important to continue supporting growth initiatives for the SME business park in our country. This scholarship program has established objectives, which, in turn, are aligned with themes that the institution proposes to promote for the sustainable development of companies. Therefore, the investment made by the INA to cover 95% of the cost of the scholarship will translate into an improvement in indicators for the participating scholarship companies”, said Adriana Aguilar Escalante, head of the Business Promotion and Development Unit (UFODE) of the INA.
At the close of the 8 previous editions, the Green Growth program has granted US$3.2 million to 270 micro, small and medium-sized companies, of which 41% are located outside the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM), 43% They are companies led by women, 51% have export potential and 4,017 jobs have been supported. At an environmental level, the program has managed to offset a carbon footprint equivalent to 255 thousand trees planted (4.5 tons of CO2 equivalent), a water saving of 186 thousand cubic meters equivalent to the average consumption of more than 1,000 Costa Rican homes.
In 2020, the Green Growth program was recognized by the International Trade Center (ITC) as “Best initiative for inclusive and sustainable trade”, in a contest that recognizes the excellence of export development initiatives in the world, competing at that time with countries such as Austria, Lithuania, Saint Lucia, and Spain.