The Inter-American Development Bank Builds Regional Business Hubs in Latin America

The world is peppered with places known primarily for the industries that thrive there—manufacturing in Shenzhen, technology in Silicon Valley, film in Mumbai. The abundance of talent and resources clustering in one place spurs growth and innovation. The small-business focused Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank is working to catalyze this type of local growth through its Regional Economic Development initiative. The RED is an effort to build the capacity of specific industries in specific places using the unique resources available.

For example, a MIF initiative in the Mexican state of Jalisco created a five-fold increase in tourism to the region. Jalisco is best known for the native blue agave plant, used to make its most famous product—tequila. Inspired by wine tours established in California’s Napa Valley and elsewhere, the MIF worked with the Fundació José Cuervo to develop a “Tequila Trail” peppered with small hotels, restaurants, distilleries, transportation companies, and other tourism-based small businesses. Participating businesses benefited from business training, as well as cooperative marketing with other local businesses. The project resulted in a five-fold growth in the number of visitors to the region, as well as a 38% increase in spending per visitor.