Rainbow baby

By: Miguel González Fuentes

Microentrepreneurs, key players in the economy

The potential that microenterprises contribute to Guatemala’s economy is unquestionable: the numbers prove it. They are true drivers of economic, social, inclusive, and sustainable development for families, communities, and countries. Thousands of entrepreneurs and their workers strive every day to produce. However, they operate at a financial and technological disadvantage, compounded by the effects of corporate globalization. Faced with this challenge, microentrepreneurs expect support and policy measures to continue producing, to be competitive, and to ensure that their products reach the market under equitable conditions.

Almost half a million micro and small entrepreneurs contribute 40% of Guatemala's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), an indicator that measures the size of a country's economy. The latest official measurement shows that there are 435,000 micro, 40,000 small, and 4,000 medium-sized companies in the country.

Moreover, MSMEs represent more than 90% of all businesses and, consequently, generate 70% of national employment. In this context, the United Nations (UN) states: "We cannot ignore the potential of microenterprises; it is urgent to help them overcome their challenges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals set at the global level".


"It is disappointing that there are so many requirements for us to qualify for a loan. If we microentrepreneurs are the driving force of the economy, we should have bureaucratic procedures and requirements minimized. That is precisely why we call ourselves entrepreneurs because we are starting our businesses and therefore do not have everything that a bank or the government requires to obtain financing," were the words of a microentrepreneur interviewed recently. Of course, providing support to micro-entrepreneurs produces positive effects for countries: more employment, improved salaries, integration into the social security system, and human development. For these reasons, MSMEs must be helped to prosper, according to experts from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Microenterprises are of such importance that the UN declared June 27th of each year to commemorate this sector for its contribution to sustainable development and the global economy. Given this importance, the public sector must take great steps to stimulate, support, and facilitate credits to entrepreneurs, an action that will guarantee a promising future. MSMEs must not be left behind, ECLAC executives add. Guatemalan entrepreneurs applaud the government's training programs, workshops, forums, and reactivation projects, as well as the support of the international community, but they expect different gestures, at least to start their businesses: easy access to financing, minimizing tax regulations, low-interest rates, business development services and support for productivity and competitiveness, which will result in economic growth. For example, regions such as Sacatepéquez, Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, Quiché and Sololá require attention, as they have a large number of artisanal entrepreneurs and hundreds of individual manufacturing workers.