It’s questionable how much attention one should pay to headlines in order to understand the world and emerging trends. Headlines have a tendency to either change erratically from day to day or to get stuck on one theme until the next big issue comes along. However, a careful reader can’t help but notice the following theme of the past few months:

Honduran SMEs Request (Financial) Incentives — a request by the President of the Honduran SME Association (Anmpih) to help grow the microenterprise sector in that country.

US ExIm Bank announces Global Access for Small Business — this program has pledged to increase export financing for small businesses to support President Obama’s 2010 initiative of doubling exports in five years.

Boost for Microfinancers in Panama — reporting on an agreement to create the first private-public partnership for microfinancers in Panama. The agreement is responding to the unmet demand for loans for micro and small enterprises in that country, which has been around $900 million over the past two years.

The Caribbean Idea Marketplace invites entrepreneurs and firms in the Caribbean and the US-Caribbean diaspora to partner with each other to compete for a grant of US $100,000 to implement their business idea. Attractive, except that the applicants must already have access to at least US$100,000.00 of their own resources. The program is being managed by Compete Caribbean in partnership with the US Department of State, Digicel, and Scotiabank. Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

There is also an U.S. Agency for International Development and Western Union, which has just completed its second year.

The Business in Development (BiD) Network competition which began in 2005. This annual global competition solicits business ideas from start-ups in developing countries, providing them with access to coaching to develop their business plans and the winners to financial grants to implement their plans. As of 2011, about 489 businesses have been successfully launched with the assistance of the BiD Network.

These are all just a drop in the bucket however. Which brings us to crowdfunding. TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK.