Project Factsheet
Tools for » Developing competitiveness for the Brunca Region in the tourism and agro-industry sectors, with emphasis on creation of green, decent employment for reducing poverty
Project ID 00070633 Description MDGF-2086-D-CRI Private Sector
Fund
MDG Achievement Fund
Start Date *: 24 Apr 2009
Theme
MDGF Private Sector Devt
Project status Operationally Closed
Country Costa Rica Participating Organization   Multiple
About

Overview

The Programme’s expected results were based on improving 1) The conditions for competitive business environment; 2) The competitiveness and productivity of small and medium enterprise (SME) and; 3) Innovative capacity from the implementation of two pilot projects, one on biofuel production and the other on the development of ethno-tourism.

The programme focused in the country's poorest region, identified as a priority in the National Development Plan 2011-2014. As such, the programme supported the creation of a Competitiveness Council with 10 thematic committees and an Observatory. The Council is an innovative tool for public-private collaboration to identify regional priorities and public policies with a territorial approach. This model of local development management is being replicated in the North Huetar in the Atlantic region of Costa Rica. The programme also supported the simplification of procedures for SMEs in the Brunca Region, whith an average decrease from 54 to 10 days to process a patent. This pilot is being replicated in the North Huetar and the province of Limón. It also supported the development and ultimate approval of public policies on competitiveness and tourism (Municipalities Buenos Aires, Coto Brus and Brokers), employment generation and environment in the Municipality of Coto Brus.  At the local level it helped develop four Cantonal Human Development Plans  and five Municipal Strategic Plans which incorporate with a regional perspective.

The programme supported the creation of  three regional clusters on tourism, agribusiness and fresh produce  to design and implement strategic projects for the regional, national or international promotion of products, as well as the drafting of the proposed bill "Law for the Promotion of SMEs through the figure of Consortia". Technical assistance was provided to support competitive initiatives and conducted an appraisal of 100 initiatives with potential for agribusiness in the Region, which helped to identify existing opportunities for growth.

It sought to strengthen entrepreneurial culture among the youth through the “know your business” programme (CODE) in technical education, which to date has reached over three hundred teachers and more than 7,000 students nationwide and is being replicated in two additional regions: North Zone Huetar and  Limón Provinces. And helped to establish a network of municipal services to support SME business development, called CREAPYMES.

Lastly, it promoted the piloting of the Jatropha project aimed at establishing and learning on production experiences on biofuels in the indigenous territories of the Casona (Ngobe and Bugle). Some key results from this experience include the constitution of the First Chamber of Tourism in the Indigenous Territories and the organization of the indigenous artisans and the association MENSULI, and the creation of the  Competitive Fund for Implementation of indigenous initiatives of Ethnotourism for a total of $87,000. Further, MEIC has maintained support for the initiatives produced in the project, contributing to its sustainability.

  

Outcome 1:

Improved improving conditions for competitive business environment.

 

Outcome achievements:

  • Creation of a Competitiveness Council with 10 thematic committees.
  • Improved business environment through the simplification of procedures for SMEs in the Brunca Region.
  • Extended and strengthened the supply of business development services by promoting of a business model that makes better use of the productive potential of the region.
  • Published a directory of business development services, strengthened local actors to analyze and promote value chains.
  • Organized the first fair Brunca Emprende12, and other local to facilitate the marketing of local products.
  • Supported the development of an image and communications strategy for the region.
  • Supported the development and ultimate approval of public policies on competitiveness and tourism (Municipalities Buenos Aires, Coto Brus and Brokers), employment generation and environment in the Municipality of Coto Brus.
  • Creation of a Methodological Guide for Designing and Local Public Policy.
  • Development of the Observatory for Competitiveness in Brunca.
  • In collaboration with ECLAC ILPES, promoted a distance learning course on “The municipalization of the MDGs".
  • Strengthened national and local institutions through activities such as  transfer of technology, knowledge and best practices on themes such as  regional competitiveness models and  regulatory improvement and simplification of procedures at the municipal level.
  • Cantonal Human Development Plans (4 ) and Municipal Strategic Plans ( 5 ) incorporating the competitiveness agenda in the region.

 

Outcome 2:

Improved competitiveness and productivity of small and medium enterprise (with a focus on the poor).

 

Outcome achievements:

  • Creation of three regional clusters on tourism, agribusiness and fresh produce to design and implement strategic projects for the regional, national or international promotion of products.
  • Drafting of the proposed bill "Law for the Promotion of SMEs through the figure of Consortia".
  • Technical assistance and support to competitive initiatives.
  • Conducted an inventory and appraisal of 100 initiatives with potential for agribusiness in the Region, which helped to identify opportunities for productive in the following value chains: vegetable; rambutan; dairy; beans; fishing.
  • Strengthened entrepreneurial culture among young people in the region through of the incorporation of the “know your business” programme (CODE) in technical education. To date CODE has reached over three hundred teachers and more than 7,000 students nationwide and is being replicated on two additional regions: North Zone Huetar and Limón Province.
  • Established a network of six offices for the provision of municipal services SME business development, called CREAPYMES Municipal (5) and Institutional CREAPYME (1), which combines multiple efforts to support SMEs.

 

Outcome 3:

Improved Innovative capacity from the implementation of two pilot projects, one on biofuel production and the other on the development of ethno-tourism.

 

Outcome achievements:

  • Jatropha pilot project aimed at establishing monitoring and learning on production experiences, assessment of compiled information to support local learning for the industry producing biofuels from Jatropha.
  • Strengthened ethno pilot project in the indigenous territories of the Casona (Ngobe and Bugle) in the canton of Coto Brus and Térraba, Boruca, Salitre, Cabagra and Curre, in the canton of Buenos Aires through training aimed at leaders, small businesses and local networks.

 

Best Practices

  • It is good practice to develop semi-annual planning and monitoring workshops to corroborate results.
  • Alignment with public policy and close coordination to actively engage the private sector participation in the process; the programme acted as link between local and national policies and better coordination of public investments.
  • Local level partnerships with strong local players.
  • Strong field sensitization process and careful identification of beneficiaries and strategic partners.
  • Identification of a national field tutor, whose participation in all events provided a better tracking and monitoring system.
  • The regional consultation process and the development of the proposed JP in conjunction with local stakeholders.
  • The development of a sustainability strategy in the mid-term, which guided the implementation towards sustainability.
  • The establishment of a National Technical Committee at the Local level.
  • Flexibility and accountability which allowed to adjust the programme according to the reality of the moment.
  • Development of Joint Actions in an indigenous community EBAIS at La Casona for the development of ethno-tourism. 

 

Lessons Learned

  • All programmes need a coordination unit and office space to ensure joint planning, implementation and monitoring. In the case of regional programs, it would be ideal for the implementation unit to be based in the area of implementation. The consultants must be part of this coordination unit and accountable to the coordinator.
  • Program planning must be  carried out by an interdisciplinary interagency team.
  • The advantage of a technical coordination role that does not manage financial disbursement is that it frees it to focus on the management, coordination and administration of joint programs.
  • During the first six months of the program  it would be optimal to perform workshops with local stakeholders and agencies of the UN System to validate the original design and institutional arrangements. Barriers to entry and the potential risks should be addressed.
  • The establishment of specialized groups by subject area, led by the implementing agency, should be encouraged.
  • Financial support to the programme through technical or financial resources by local counterparts should be encouraged.
  • Programmes need to establish guidelines and procedures for implementation to ensure coordination and avoid parallel implementation.
  • Programme design should include the definition and development of a sustainability strategy  in their design to ensure timely strategies for sustainability can be developed.
  • It is necessary to standardize and strengthen mechanisms for financial monitoring and implementation to ensure timely reliable and  accurate information is available.
  • A desirable practice would be to establish semiannual or annual reporting to ensure accountability to the target population. Also, each program should produce at least a semi- graphic bulletin for distribution among the target beneficiaries.
  • Sufficient resources should be allocated for regular monitoring visits.
  • Any local development initiative need to be consulted and validated at the local level, and obtain support from the highest political authorities.
  • Importance of a communication strategy for validating and communicating achievements to beneficiaries, institutions, regional and local levels. 

 

More details can be found in the documents below.

Recent Documents
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