The economic growth initiative

The Economic Growth is an Initiative from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) designed to identify and finance innovative solutions that help unleash private investment in Latin America and the Caribbean. The initiative seeks proposals in each of the following four pillars:


Pillar 1:  Focus on small and island countries - Business Environment for Entrepreneurship in the Caribbean

Pillar 2:  Public-Private dialogue - Eliminating obstacles in productive sectors and value chains

Pillar 3: Market niches - Unlocking strategic investments in new technologies and green transformative agendas

Pillar 4: Public-Private Partnerships - Enabling IDB Group synergies to support their development

Each pillar has individualized terms of reference and application periods.

Focus on small and island countries: Why are we launching this call?

The Caribbean region needs a fast-growing private sector to address the pressing issues of debt sustainability, employment, and COVID recovery. This initiative seeks to support Caribbean governments in enhancing the business and investment climate, and/or to deploy new tools for private sector development, thus contributing to the revitalization of Caribbean economies.


The objective of this initiative is to promote improvements in the business climate that will foster increased private sector investment and innovation in the small, English and Dutch speaking Caribbean countries that are members of the IDB (Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago). The project will support Caribbean governments in implementing business climate reforms that increase returns and/or lower the risk of private sector investment and business innovation. The project will also support governments to design and deploy new mechanisms to support private sector development.

What are the awards for the selected proposals?

Each proposal selected will be awarded non-reimbursable funds for its implementation. The limit for each proposal is US$ 160,000. The funds will be administered by the IDB, in coordination with the government agency assigned as counterpart beneficiary and other stakeholders listed in the project, to execute the agreed-upon activities.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for proposals that fall in any of the following two categories:


Category 1: Enhancing the business and investment climate


These are projects to support governments to: 1) advise, revise, and/or create regulatory and policy frameworks that strengthen the business environment, and ii) support the capacity of government institutions responsible for executing business climate reforms.


Examples of these projects are:

  • Revising/creating regulatory and policy frameworks that reduce the time and/or cost of accessing finance, starting a business, registering property, obtaining permits, trading across borders, protecting minority investors, resolving conflicts, resolving insolvency, and others. These projects can include institutional strengthening support for the institutions implementing such frameworks - for example for business registries, construction permitting agencies, land registries, customs offices, financial regulators, and other public institutions involved in the business environment.
  • Drafting legislation and policies, and/or strengthening public institutions that can facilitate e-government and e-business transactions (for example, regulations for data privacy, e-signature, fintech, as well as strengthening of public regulators), to facilitate the transition to the digital economy.
  • Drafting legislation and policy that can enhance labor, capital, and product markets (for example, competition policy/regulation, policies around tax incentives, financial market regulations strengthening of policies and institutions to attract foreign direct investment (FDI), etc.).
  • Strengthening evidence-based policymaking in the areas of business climate and investment, including institutions charged with data collection and with stimulating public-private dialogue (for example, helping to design and set up competitiveness units, economic/policy teams working on business climate and investment agendas, strengthening statistical offices' capacity to collect data on the private sector).
  • Defining policies to reduce business climate barriers for women-owned businesses and to advance gender equality in the business climate.
  • Defining policies related to meeting Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in ways that encourage the greening of businesses - for example legislation, policies or institutional strengthening related to carbon taxes or to facilitate the participation of Caribbean countries in global carbon markets.


Defining policies or regulations to enable activity in new growth sectors for the economy, or to promote investments (for example Public Private Partnerships), and strengthening institutions involved in these sectors.


Category 2: Strengthening the environment for dynamic private sector development


This component will engage consultants to design, recommend and provide technical support for the implementation of policies and pilot programs that build the capacity and/or effectiveness of public institutions fostering private sector development, or that help these institutions experiment with new mechanisms to support private sector development.


Examples of these projects:

  • Development and partial implementation of strategies or action plan to develop new economic sectors with growth potential (for example remote work, blue economy, and tech-enabled sectors).
  • Pilot projects to strengthen the national and/or regional innovation ecosystems (for example, projects that help set up/pilot tech transfer offices, innovation agencies, incubators and accelerators, entrepreneurship support mechanisms, venture capital funds, or clusters and value chains)
  • Projects that promote the creation and diffusion of knowledge among private actors (for example, strengthening of quality infrastructure systems, intellectual property rights systems, R&D mechanisms, university-private sector collaborations, and technology extension programs).
  • Pilot projects that foster mission-oriented, private-sector solutions to public and/or social problems.
  • Projects to design and implement pilot programs that advance gender equality for women-owned businesses
  • Pilot programs to support businesses to participate in global carbon markets, or to undertake mitigation or adaptation measures.


Gender, diversity, and climate considerations


The scoring criteria include an assessment of the extent to which proposals promote gender equality, and/or the empowerment of women, youth, or vulnerable groups, and/or resilience to climate change (see scoring criteria).

Who can submit a proposal?

Entities from seven Caribbean IDB member countries: Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago (each of them an "Applicant").  While government agencies, private sector associations, and non-governmental/civil associations can be Applicants under a proposal, each project must include a government agency acting as the counterpart beneficiary of the project. For example, if the project is to implement a pilot program to support entrepreneurs, the agency participating in providing support to entrepreneurs must be a public agency and should have given its assent to the proposal.


It is recommended that an IDB specialist is pre-identified as a partner in the project: As the selected projects will be implemented by the IDB (this means that the IDB will procure and supervise the consultants engaged in the projects, working closely with the public counterpart/beneficiary agency), it is necessary to involve from the outset an IDB specialist that can provide technical guidance on the activities to be financed and their associated cost.

How to apply

To apply please complete the online application available on this site by clicking Submit Proposal, within the deadlines. This call is receiving applications until March 31st, at 11:59pm EST.

What are the evaluation criteria?

Likelihood of success (20%)

- Category 1 projects: The probability that the legislation is passed/ the policy is implemented, and any institutional strengthening is achieved.


- Category 2 projects: The probability that the pilot will be executed and scaled.

Impact (20%)

The impact on private sector development, in any of the following aspects: (i) Reduction in cost/time for businesses to comply with government regulations. (ii) Enhanced growth opportunities for the private sector (e.g., development of new sectors, provision of new services that increases the competitiveness of certain sectors).

Sustainability (20%)

The results of the project can be sustained and even scaled up over time.

Value for Money (20%)

The expected value of the results (in new employment, exports, revenues, or efficiencies) as compared to the cost.         

Inclusion and Climate Resilience (20%)

The degree to which the project promotes gender equality, and/or the empowerment of women, youth or vulnerable groups, and/or resilience to climate change (mitigation and/or adaptation).

What is the selection process?

The proposals will be evaluated by a panel composed of IDB specialists. The IDB will notify each result in writing to each Applicant and beneficiary government.


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For questions please e-mail Shivonne Johnson at