Small firms awarded development grants

Some 11 small firms each received an average of 3 million colons, about $5.500, Monday from funds provided by the Sistema de Banca para el Desarrollo. In all, the bank has allocated 200 million colons or about $370,000 for the program.

The purpose of the grants is to strengthen the finances of companies that are in the process of development. The firms all are what are known as micro, small and medium enterprises, called PYMES after the Spanish words that describe them. The program is run by the Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Comercio.

The ministry said that 10 of the 11 firms were headed by women and that eight were in the northern zone. Only one was in the Central Valley.

Each company has to produce a comprehensive business plan in conjunction with ministry experts.

The Costa Rican government favors such companies as a way to bring commercial development into rural areas. Among other advantages, corporations in the program do not have to pay the annual tax.

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