More than a 100 entrepreneurs and alumni from the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) gathered in Santo Domingo on May 1 to attend “Entrepreneurship as a Driver of Development,” a networking event for young entrepreneurs from the island of Hispaniola. Hosted by Dominican Republic-based Instituto OMG, an Atlas Network partner, in conjunction with the American Embassy in the Dominican Republic, the event featured various presentations on how to overcome barriers to free enterprise.
“The main takeaway is that anyone can successfully start their own business and thrive as an entrepreneur,” said Belkis Guerrero Villalona, Instituto OMG’s chancellor.
Monica Melo Guerrero and Annabelle Liz from Instituto OMG presented research on access to credit for Dominican entrepreneurs. The existing credit system creates problems for aspiring business owners who do not have a property to mortgage, as they are not eligible for credit to start a business.
“One of our studies identifies ways to improve access to credit for entrepreneurs, proposing a pension system reform to allow the use of part of affiliates’ voluntary retirement contributions, under certain conditions, for investing and developing new business and ventures,” said Villalona. “Another proposal focuses on reforms for improving the Dominican Republic’s collateral regime for real property, which is a patchwork of rules, some of which date back to the 19th century!”
Since the event, several important leaders, including the Chief Counsel of the Chamber of Commerce of Santo Domingo, the Chief Counsel of the Commercial Banks Association, and the Vice Minister for SMEs, have endorsed Instituto OMG’s proposals.
Instituto OMG’s next step will be to develop an Entrepreneurship Hub, where entrepreneurs can access Instituto OMG’s extensive network and resources. Through the implementation of Instituto OMG’s proposals on credit access and the introduction of the Hub, Dominican entrepreneurs will have a better chance than ever before at creating a successful business.