Empowering the Cuban entrepreneur
Cuba counts over half a million legally registered self-employed, the so-called cuentapropistas, and the number is still growing. These Meso, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) all together are an important economic incentive, providing both Cubans and tourists with a large range of goods and services, creating jobs, and generating income and savings.
Establishing a favorable environment for MSMEs development, will make the self-employed sector eventually a strong pillar in Cuba’s economy, stimulating entrepreneurship and reducing unemployment at the same time. We strongly believe that Cuba’s emerging enterprise sector offers a large stimulus for a more dynamic Cuban economy, especially if it is permitted to partner with foreign investors and capacity builders.
We realise that, next to the need for finance, training (financial and practical management) and coaching are equally important in enterprise development in general and in Cuba in particular. We work closely with existing parties in Cuba to provide the proper practical training and technical assistance to Cuban entrepreneurs wishing to enter the world of cuentapropistas or to expand their existing business.
Next to training and coaching we intend to set up a social impact hub in Havana; a social environment where entrepreneurs can meet to exchange experiences and collaborate, creating new opportunities, joining efforts and developing their businesses.
We aim to connect Cuban cuentapropistas with social investors, entrepreneurs and coaches from all over the world providing all parties the possibility to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and create positive social impact in Cuba.
Our target group
In 2010, the Cuban government authorised self-employment in 181 designated activities, expanding in 2013 to 201 designated activities, stimulating (small) enterprise development. This brought a number of opportunities for new initiatives and inventive entrepreneurs. The most common activities are making and selling food, transport of cargo and passengers, renting of housing, rooms and spaces, and telecommunications agent.
The number of Cuban cuentapropistas is augmenting. According to the report from the Cuban Ministry of Labor and Social Security (MLSS) published in June, the country counts over half a million legally registered self-employed. In addition, in the agricultural sector, there are some 575,000 farmers who own or lease their private plots, working individually or in service cooperatives.
The entrepreneurs and the banks
Reformations in the sector of self-employment, starting in 2010, instigated a boost to the sector and the Cuban economy. The island has seen an enormous rise in entrepreneurial activity between 2011 and 2015 and the number of (small) enterprises has more than tripled. Still, the existing entrepreneurs are unable to supply the Cuban people and the tourists with sufficient goods and services. The demand is rising vastly due to the scarcity of goods in the state-owned stores, as well as the growing number of tourists. The latter augmenting even more once the Cuban travel ban is lifted by the USA, as expected.
With the rise in demand and entrepreneurial activity on the one hand, we see however a large gap between the entrepreneurs and the banks on the other hand. The gap is caused by aspects like lack of confidence and knowledge of financial products and services on both sides. This is were Stichting Credit4Cuba steps in! First, we aim to offer financial training programmes to both groups, the Cuban entrepreneurs and the bankers. Second, we intend to develop finance instruments, like a Guarantee Fund, to support qualified cuentapropistas in need of finance, giving the possibility to make their business successful while participating fully in the Cuban economy.
Training & Coaching
Access to Finance
Investing in people!
We aim to attract our funds mainly from Social Investors; investors who invest in people!
Stichting Credit4Cuba aims to cooperate with Social Investors who desire to actively create positive social or environmental impacts, still considering risk, return and impact when making their investment decisions. Their investments will be directed to strengthen the skills and capacities of Cuban entrepreneurs, supporting them to participate fully in employment and social life. We look for investors who wish to use their money to maximise the social impact of their investment, without expecting a large financial return.
“Socially conscious" investing, by private persons and corporates as well, is a widely-followed practice in both Europe and the USA. With the gradual normalisation of relations between Cuba and the USA, and the large European interest in Cuba, we are convinced we can attract sufficient funds to provide thousands of Cuban cuentapropistas with training, coaching and access to finance, improving their business results, as well as the social impact.
Next to attracting funds from Social Investors, we:
- Apply for grants provided by the Dutch government, the EU and (international) NGOs
- Attract funds from Dutch and international banks
- Look for corporates that are interested to financially support a social project, addressing their Social Corporate Responsibility
- Attract funds via Crowdfunding
We will attract the Social Investors funds primarily for the development of finance instruments, like a Guarantee Fund, for the support of starting and growing entrepreneurs. The other funds will mainly be for:
- The setup of the Stichting Credit4Cuba organisation and impact hub (in Havana, Cuba as well as Amsterdam, the Netherlands), in Cuba always in close cooperation with local organisations
- The setup and management of the financial and practical management training, and coaching