ITC and APEN launch Nicaragua’s first ecomConnect Hub

17 February 2023
ITC News

200 small businesses will start selling online thanks to the new collaboration 

The International Trade Centre (ITC) and the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua (APEN) have launched the ecomConnect Hubs in Nicaragua, to benefit 200 small businesses that want to sell online.   

The programme will run for a year and a half, and is open to all micro, small and medium-size enterprises in agriculture, manufacturing or service sectors. The businesses must be legally registered with under 100 employees. To qualify, the companies must have an existing digital presence, at least on social media. Most importantly, they need the will, motivation and interest to take full advantage of the programme, which runs over four phases and is completely free.

The first phase gives an introduction to e-commerce. The second phase explores in more detail how to set up, create and activate online sales. That includes practical topics like market niches, logistics, online sales channels, payment gateways and digital marketing.

"In the third and fourth phases, we will select companies that have successfully completed the earlier phases to give them more personalized support," said Cristina Collado, e-commerce project advisor at ITC. "With APEN's support, we will develop an individualized e-commerce strategy to activate the chosen online sales channel, whether to sell locally or internationally."

"The programme will combine a self-guided virtual course along with virtual and face-to-face activities, as well as individualized support. It is designed so participating companies get to create a workflow and activate online sales," said Janisse Perez, coordinator of APEN's Export Academy. "We will also have the support of leading e-commerce partners, both local and international, to provide preferential support to participating companies."

The Nicaragua programme emerged about a year ago from another successful e-commerce project in Central America. ITC then opened a regional call for proposals to select a partner for the ecomConnect Hubs. APEN was selected in Nicaragua for its vision of establishing a training and empowerment centre specializing in e-commerce.

Interested companies must complete their application by March 1 by completing this form. Selected companies will be notified in early March and will begin the programme in mid-March 2023.  


About the International Trade Centre  

The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization fully dedicated to supporting the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises in an inclusive and sustainable manner.  


About the ecomConnect Hubs  

ITC's ecomConnect Hubs initiative is part of the ecomConnect Programme, whose focus is to support MSMEs to sell online through customized learning, technical assistance, digital tools, innovative solutions and partnerships with the private and public sector.   

The ecomConnect Hubs are virtual and physical centers that offer participating companies a training and support program for selling online. In addition to Nicaragua, ITC has ecomConnect Hubs in Tunisia and Kenya.


About the Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua  

The Association of Producers and Exporters of Nicaragua (APEN) is a business organization founded in 1991 to represent and provide services to MSMEs wishing to export. Specifically, APEN's Export Academy provides continuous education and training solutions on topics related to international trade and business management in order to train and generate human talent capable of contributing to the growth of Nicaragua's producing and exporting community.