29-01-2019 14:33

Helping SME’s Overcome Obstacles - Korpodeko Incentive Program

It is no secret that the Small and Medium Enterprises, (SME), in Curaçao account for a substantial chunk of our economy. But statistics show that 75-80% of SME’s fail within their first two years, meaning that they fail to meet their operational obligations, including tax and social benefits payments. Korpodeko is launching its own incentive program for its clients, offering small and medium sized companies six new and funded pathways to develop their weaknesses into strengths in order to increase their chances for success.

Support for SME’s
There’s a myriad of theories about the many obstacles facing SME’s, but there seems to be a common consensus among experts that if an SME manages to overcome its first two years in business, its chances for survival increase substantially. According to Chesron Isidora, Managing Director of Korpodeko, many of the common struggles of SME’s are attributable to ‘minor’ issues that can be overcome with the right guidance. Korpodeko, - although sometimes mistakenly regarded as a financier of large ventures, - is currently amping-up efforts to boost its SME portfolio by adding a new layer to its new and affordable loans: incentive programs. Every SME entrepreneur with a loan at Korpodeko, can gain access to (mostly) free support in 6 different areas of discipline. By helping the entrepreneur with a loan, and supporting it with expertise and guidance, Korpodeko strives to empower small entrepreneurs, build a stronger SME base and help strengthen the local economy.

Six Incentive Programs 
The Korpodeko Incentive Program, (KIP), consists of six products and programs that target the most pressing issues that most startup entrepreneurs face. Most of these programs are either free to join, or upon obtaining a loan at Korpodeko can choose to join.  Each of the KIP products is offered in close partnership with one or more organizations with ample expertise in their field to create synergy and efficiency. The partners make it possible to offer highly qualified people to mentor and support the SME’s without breaking the bank. 

1. KIP SIB - Sustainability in Business
This program is conducted with the partnership and support of BPM, (Bedrijven Platform Milieu). It is suited for companies who want to obtain official certification and improve their competitive advantage on the market by positioning themselves as a sustainable company.
By having a mentor who can guide you through the certification process, this increases your success rate and avoids unnecessary mistakes and delays. This particularly pertains to the tourism sector, where environmental sustainability and certification is imperative to your bottom line. A hotel certified as environmentally sustainable, is far more likely to attract and sustain its targeted clients.

2. KIP RTD – Right-to-the-Door
Online selling may sound like the easiest way to tackle new and larger markets, but the in’s and out’s of selling online make it important to have the right infrastructure, platforms and other prerequisites that need to be in place for a successful online sales point. Isidora explains that, contrary to the other KIP products, KIP RTD is still in its developmental stage and has both a program and a product component to it. Korpodeko aims to lower the threshold for companies to sell their products online; a feat that will potentially change the SME way of doing business on the island. When our people can sell their art, handmade products, etc. online, the bigger potential target market will potentially lower the risk of starting the business. In the near future, it should be easy to sit at home and sell your products online to the neighbor down the road,” says Isidora. Korpodeko works with a list of implementers, and currently has C-Post as a partner while conversations with other partners are still ongoing. 

3. KIP WWW - Social Media Awareness
Digital presence has fast become a staple and new companies are sometimes at a loss while trying to find their way with what works, and how. Isidora believes in the power of improving digital presence effectiveness, saying: “The way the economy operates nowadays, if you don’t have a website and you’re not on Facebook, you practically don’t exist. It won’t be long before we add to this that if you don’t have an App you don’t exist either.” Having these online gateways to your company, is vital to the survival of any small and medium sized business. Korpodeko’s KIP WWW provides financing and support to get an online presence. To have a website, become proficient in social media management or navigate the way to outsourcing it.

4. KIP BAB - Administration and Tax Compliancy
Not surprisingly, a substantial number of small and medium sized businesses don’t have an appropriate bookkeeping system in place. Many entrepreneurs start out with a keen understanding of their product or service and focus on that, while their lack of financial acumen lags behind. As a consequence, they are often unaware of how their business is performing. They frequently end up incurring unnecessary tax arrears, and costs that could have been avoided with proper insight and interpretation of their financial figures and forms. We are all too familiar with the ‘Areglo di Pago’ (arrangement that the tax office allows you to pay off your accumulated tax debt in installments), but we are best served by putting our energy in creating a good system to avoid arrears and penalties. 
For this program Korpodeko partners up with BAB, (Belasting Accountan