Actualidad Costa Rica

SME consortia

Lentigislative Decree 9576

On July 20*, the Law to boost SME competitiveness through the development of consortia was published. The law creates a regulatory framework that supports the creation, development and growth of SME consortia as an associative mechanism to foster competitiveness and expansion in the MSME sector.

SME consortia are associations of two or more natural or legal persons, accredited as SME** or SMAP*** with a voluntary consortium contract. This legal instrument obliges them to conduct activities involving the promotion, cooperation or selling of goods and services for a predefined period.

Types of SME consortia

The regulations differentiate between the following types of SME consortia:

  • Business cooperation consortium:  group of companies working together on a joint project, each within its own specialty, to achieve group efficiency.
  • Export consortium:  group of companies that have partnered together to promote their members' goods and services abroad and cooperate in the export of the same with joint action.
  • Consortia at source:  unlike export consortia, the partnership is between producers of the same product in the same region, their goal being to add value to a product by virtue of its traditional place of origin.
  • Others: consortia that have been designated as such through regulation by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade (MEIC).

Incentives in the running of SME Consortia

The law sets out a range of incentives for running consortia. These include the following:

  • Access to business support services: They will have the same advantages as those granted to SMEs through funds from the Development Banking System, the Propyme Fund and Fodemipyme, together with other programs created under Act Nº 8262 May 2, 2002, to foster small and medium-sized companies.
  • Access to funding:  State banks will provide advantageous conditions on the term and interest rates of their credit facilities.
  • Consideration as public sector suppliers:  This new regulation, amending the Public Sector Tender Act****, enables SME consortia to bid in public-sector tenders.

Other relevant points

The requirements and conditions for creating and registering SME Consortia are established, recognizing the MEIC as the steering body overseeing the National Register of SME Consortia, and including other stipulations regarding the licenses and obligations of these enterprise associations.

* Passed by Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly on May 29, 2018, coming into force on the date of publication.

** Productive units meeting this definition under Act 8262, May 2, 2002, together with its secondary legislation, to foster small and medium-sized enterprises.

*** Small and medium agricultural producers operating as natural or legal persons, who are properly registered as required by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG).

**** Public Sector Tender Act 7494, May 2, 1995.