It is a well documented fact that the public and private sectors in Guatemala have not maintained the most fruitful relationship. The Thunderbird TEM Lab Consulting Team is working to change this. One of our goals is to help bring the public and private sectors together to provide assistance to micro, small, and medium sized enterprises though an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) loan. We are accomplishing this by building relationships on both sides, bridging the gap, and ultimately providing training to trainers of the targeted businesses and entrepreneurs.
Several months before we arrived in Guatemala our team began fostering relationships with the Guatemalan Ministry of Economy (MINECO) and the private sector intermediaries. Once on the ground we could see in our meetings that we had already built a lot of trust with the private sector intermediaries. MINECO wanted to provide a presentation on the Component 4 loan and sent out invitations to each intermediary. We took the opportunity during our follow-up meetings to help promote the presentation. Our relationship building paid off when the various actors sat down to discuss Component 4 of the IDB loan. MINECO provided a presentation of the loan program, formally introduced the IDB representative responsible for the loan, the TEM Lab team, Professor Finney, and then opened the meeting up to discussion.
The main topics of discussion were transparency, accountability, and reduced bureaucracy. The private sector intermediaries were extremely enthusiastic about the loan program, but there was also still a limited manifestation of mistrust. MINECO understood and immediately addressed the intermediaries concerns. They answered each question and concern with great diplomacy and provided almost an open door policy to each intermediary. MINECO is willing to meet personally to discuss the loan in greater depth, listen to the feedback of the intermediaries, and provide more detailed information to anyone needing clarification. We could see that MINECO representatives understand the importance of this loan and the relationship with the private sector.
Later that night, the IDB representative told the TEM Lab team that this meeting was one of the greatest accomplishments to date on the Component 4 loan program. This is why I came to Thunderbird. An opportunity like this TEM Lab could only come from a Thunderbird program.
The TEM Lab team would like to thank MINECO, all of the private sector intermediaries, Alejandra Eguiluz, and Professor Michael Finney for their attendance and participation during this meeting.