MONTEVIDEO – Uruguay’s Industry, Energy and Mining Ministry (MIEM) and the National Cooperative Institute (Inacoop) issued on Tuesday a call for cooperatives to present projects focusing on innovation.
In issuing the call, Inacoop president Gustavo Bernini and Industry and Labor Ministers Carolina Cosse and Ernesto Murro, respectively, emphasized the growth of the Development Fund and assorted cooperatives.
Murro said that Uruguay “stands out” in Latin America and the world not only for its institutions and its guidelines but also for cooperativism, since recently the number of cooperatives in the country has tripled.
“I think we have to continue working, learning, improving, correcting mistakes, but without a doubt these things are being done and this call is part of the process that we’re developing,” Murro said.
Bernini emphasized that in 2017 the Fund, for the first time since 2015, managed to reverse a “loss trend” and create a “small gain.”
“Some of the undertakings that we had criticized for losses ... were rescued, and they began to produce and ... pay off. This is an important trend,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cosse said that this second call for projects is aimed at pushing projects in areas like bio- and nanotechnology, electronics, software, agroindustry and creative industries, among others, and is an example of how the state is working toward more equitable socieconomic development.
“The state, as a shield for the weakest, can and must also act as a launching pad for innovation and for the most daring, those who want to pursue disruptive projects to keep advancing. So, it’s important to support the social economy and begin moving along these roads,” Cosse said.
This second call for projects by Inacoop and MIEM is aimed at agrarian and labor cooperatives, rural development societies and self-managed undertakings that produce goods or provide services related to industry aimed at the local or foreign market.
The most innovative projects will be provided with refundable funding of up to 5.8 million pesos (about $18,500) and nonrefundable funding of 300,000 pesos (about $9,600).