Small retailers in emerging markets need export help too. Almost as much as credit, small entrepreneurs seek advice and contacts in international markets. That's what spurred Argentinian Sandra Felsenstein to set up a business linking craft manufacturers in her home country to shops and distribution companies in neighboring Chile, Peru, and Ecuador.
Felsenstein told the Financial Times (closed access): "Our aim is to provide an entry gate for [foreign] businesses while at the same time removing a lot of the pressures on Argentinian companies which are interested in exporting, yet lack the scale and expertise to be able to do this."
The need for advice is among the most crucial support sought by emerging market businesses, especially small and medium enterprises. To meet that need and keep up with global demand for advice, the IFC has been stepping up its advisory services. In FY05, nearly one-third of IFC's staff were engaged in these efforts, in Washington and in the field. IFC's Small and Medium Enterprise Department also launched a free online program, to help small businesses in emerging markets learn and implement sustainable business management practices.
The IFC's SME Toolkit is a free site. It provides information and forms, as well as business applications.