Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the e-commerce sector of 6 Central America countries are set to reap greater benefits from participation in international trade thanks to the existing partnership with eBay and two new partnerships struck by the International Trade Centre with PayPal and Payoneer, two leading global payments system providers.
To kick off the new partnerships, the partners are this week (14-18 October) organising a series of workshops in San Salvador, El Salvador, on online marketplaces and payments solutions to be used in e-commerce activities. Twenty trainers from trade and investment support institutions in the 6 countries – Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – are participating in the workshops, which are hosted by PROESA, the Export and Investment Promotion Agency of El Salvador.
The workshops are part of a wider European Union-funded project – Linking Central American Women-Owned Businesses with the Global Gifts and Home Decoration Market – which is implemented in collaboration with the Secretariat for Central American Economic Integration (SIECA) and national implementing partners. The initiative aims to boost the capacities of more than 200 women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs in the handicraft sector. These entrepreneurs are looking to boost their e-commerce skills and develop long-term strategies for selling their goods in international markets through online channels. Participants will get to grips with new technologies, business processes, payment methods, and logistics and shipping requirements related to transferring their businesses online.
In addition to hands-on training delivered by e-commerce experts, participating enterprises and entrepreneurs will, as part of the partnerships with eBay, PayPal and Payoneer, receive preferential rates and access to key focal points at the three companies to resolve technical problems.
Commenting on the new partnerships, ITC Executive Director Arancha González said: ‘At ITC we are extremely pleased to be collaborating with eBay, PayPal and Payoneer to help bring more women entrepreneurs onto this digital highway. The partnerships will equip these women entrepreneurs with invaluable skills and knowledge needed to go digital.’
A big challenge for MSMEs in developing countries is access to financial services. This includes payment services where access requirements and payment fees in developing countries are significantly higher than for businesses elsewhere.
For example, in the United States, the average credit-card processing cost for a retail business is between 1.95% and 2%, whereas this can be up to three times more in developing countries. In addition, in many developing countries, withdrawing funds from payments service companies to a local bank account is not always possible for MSMEs.
Through these partnerships with PayPal, Payoneer and eBay, as well as its expertise, advisory services and further training workshops, the ITC e-commerce connect programme will facilitate the internationalisation of MSMEs and help them overcome the barriers to selling online.