Small business resources are on display at Antigua Aduana

A chorus completely of flutes performed Tuesday night. The instruments included the floor-length contrabass flute. The group is the Coro de Flautas.

Anyone who attends the Expo Pyme 2012 should not expect to find displays of small and medium enterprises. The event is mainly to showcase some 50 firms that offer services to pequeñas y medianas empresas.

There were banks and extensive displays from the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio, one of the sponsors. And Tuesday night there were a number of politicians and others who came to show their support for the smaller businesses that employe an estimated 51 percent of the nation’s workforce.

President Laura Chinchilla was there to sign two decrees. One established April 24 as a national day for small and medium enterprises. A second decree reduced the paperwork and expanded the definition of what is a small or medium enterprise. Such a designation exempts a company from the new annual tax, if it is established as a corporation. Some 60 percent of the businesses are operated as individual proprietorships.

Although the economics ministry was a cosponsor with the Cámara de Industrias de Costa Rica, there was little economy. The arrival of President Chinchilla to the Antigua Aduana where the expo is being held through Thursday was punctuated by a 10-minute fireworks display. Inside there were young ladies in traditional dress, marimba players and a flute chorus. Waiters were ready to serve wine to the various dignitaries and visitors.

Few of the displays were staffed as Ms. Chinchilla made the rounds with Mayi Antillón, the economics minister. The
agency for special help to small and medium enterprises is within the economics ministry. Casa Presidencial announced that the number of such regional offices to help small business was being increased from 20 to 45.

Most financial institutions have money earmarked for small business. In addition there is the Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo that has access to $360 million specifically for small business loans, said Casa Presidencial.

Two schools had displays of the small businesses they are creating. Both were seeking funds. The Colegio Tecnico Profesional Piedades Sur in San Ramón is growing butterflies.
There was a small, enclosed butterfly garden at the school’s exhibit.

The Colegio Tecnico Profesional Vázquez de Coronado has a project to give tours of the canton.

In addition to the exhibits, there are workshops and seminars for small businesses. Admission is free. The Antigua Aduana is in east San José northwest of the Estación al Atlántico and south of the Iglesia Santa Teresita on Calle 23. The sprawling structure has just received a $6.5 million makeover, in part to reinforce it against earthquakes.

Three firms were honored for their work as part of the celebration. Manejo Profesional de Desechos S.A. of Curridabat handles medical waste. Milenio Tres S.A. in Guachipelín, Escazú, produces biodegradable plastic products. Exenos Costa Rica S.A. of Carmen de Alajuela produces biodegradable chemicals.

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