I spoke yesterday with Dennis Schmidt, Co-Founder at Stichting Credit4Cuba, a Dutch non-profit organization currently working in Cuba and providing training entrepreneurs. Credit4Cuba has just signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with La Asociacion National de Economistas y Contadores de Cuba (ANEC).
Cuba Business Report: Dennis, tell me what was Stichting Credit4Cuba aiming for in these latest discussions?
The Dutch non-profit foundation Stichting Credit4Cuba intends to empower the Cuban entrepreneur, the cuentapropista’s, and is providing practical interactive entrepreneurial workshops, business skill training for small and growing businesses in Cuba, always work in close cooperation with the Cuban people and Cuban organizations. Credit4Cuba also aims to improve access to funding, to microloans.
Cuba Business Report: Over what period of time did the most recent discussions last?
In November 2015 we were introduced to Mr Paco Borrás, VP President, from La Asociacion National de Economistas y Contadores de Cuba (ANEC). From moment one there was a great chemistry between ANEC and Credit4Cuba (“the Parties”) that resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on March 1, 2016. Between April 2016 and the end of December 2016, the foundation and ANEC provided several entrepreneurial workshops by Dutch seasoned business professionals at ANEC’s office for their entrepreneur students.
Cuba Business Report: What did the recent discussions between ANEC and Credit4 Cuba achieve?
During these months of visits, workshops and meetings with ANEC the foundation was created for a fruitful cooperation between ANEC and Credit4Cuba. As a result we signed the addendum to the MoU on February 3, 2017 for the realisation of the extensive Training and Technical Assistance (“TTA”) program for Cuban entrepreneurs in 2017. President Oscar Luis Hung Pentón and VP Paco Borrás signed on behalf of ANEC, in presence of VP Juan Carlos Prego and VP Ramón Labañino Salazar as well as Mr Jan Alderliesten (First Secretary Economic Affairs) from the Dutch Embassy in Havana, Cuba. Marije Oosterhek and Dennis Schmidt signed the document on behalf of Credit4Cuba and were accompanied by Credit4Cuba Advisory Board Member Ms Amalin Sad Rodriguez.
Cuba Business Report: So for Credit4Cuba and ANEC, your Cuban partner, what is the significance of the signing?
By signing the addendum to the MoU the parties can bring the business skills through the Training and Technical Assistance program in the sector of the Cuban self-employed (the cuentapropistas) to the next level.
Cuba Business Report: That’s fantastic! Congratulations, I know from a recent chat with your business partner, Marije Oosterhek in Havana that the whole team has been very busy with fine-tuning. What is Credit4Cuba now going to be offering Cuba and its entrepreneur students this year?
The extensive TTA program includes a Post-Graduate course, ad-hoc workshops, boot camps and/or seminars. These activities have the goal to support Cuban institutions and entrepreneurs in order to empower Cuban entrepreneurs and support business development.
The Post-Graduate course consists of 10 (ten) interactive workshops based on the Business Model Canvas (“BMC”). BMC is a strategic management and lean start up template for developing new or documenting existing business models. The topics of all the workshops are related to the entrepreneurship and management of a micro, small or medium enterprise (MSME), such as marketing, sales strategies, financial products and microfinance, pitching and business plan development. The purpose of the workshops is to offer tools to new as well as established entrepreneurs.
The parties will invite trainers to provide the workshops. The Cuban trainer will be able to provide specific background knowledge on the topic of the workshop in relation to Cuba. The non-Cuban trainer will provide practical entrepreneurial experience and expertise related to the topic of Business Model Canvas. Together they will contribute their knowledge on the topic of the workshop. Parties also have the aim to offer short excursions though excursions are only offered to the participants of the post-graduate course.
These tools are essential to create or to run a business, to improve the success rates, to create jobs and to impact the lives of the entrepreneurs as well as their families.
Furthermore the parties intend to perform a Training Needs Assessment to learn the training needs of the (starting) entrepreneurs and to safeguard the balance between the entrepreneurs’ needs and our training offer.
This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for your organization and for entrepreneurs in Cuba.
Dennis, I’d like to thank you for speaking with me today. Looking forward to hearing more about the work of Credit4Cuba in the future.
Dennis and Marije have released the following statement on the signing of the MOU with ANEC:
“We, Marije and Dennis, co-founders of the non-profit foundation Stichting Credit4Cuba, are extremely happy with the fruitful and joyful interaction with ANEC and really appreciate the personal touch, the brainstorming sessions, the communication and the ideas.
Impressed by the expertise and support from the Dutch Embassy in Havana, Cuba, the Dutch Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). Their feedback, the sound boarding, the time they put into us is highly appreciated.
We are highly motivated and open to discuss partnerships with other organizations (worldwide) that are interested to work with us and support our goal to make a difference.
Stichting Credit4Cuba intend to empower the self-employed, creating positive social impact for the entrepreneur and Cuban society by providing practical interactive entrepreneurial workshops, always in close cooperation with local organizations and the (future) cuentapropistas. “