The Minister of Ampyme, H.E. Gisela Burillo opened the forum entitled, "Entrepreneurial Panama: The role of public policy and innovation" gathering more than 300 participants coming from the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Panama. Based on the results of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Panama 2011, stakeholders at the Forum identified key areas for discussion, namely innovation and technology, entrepreneurship education and access to finance. Three working groups used UNCTAD's Entrepreneurship Policy Framework (EPF) methodology as a guideline for identifying relevant policy options and recommended actions. The groups made use of the EPF's checklists to obtain a preliminary assessment of each area, discussed best practices in the region and evaluated monitoring indicators
The Forum, organized by UNCTAD in collaboration with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), The Knowledge City Foundation and Empretec Panama in May 2012 resulted in 11 actionable recommendations for entrepreneurship policy covering three key areas identified.
Each recommendation includes a description of the situation in Panama, a justification for the need for policy intervention in the area, reference to good practices in the region and clear objectives accompanied by an action plan with responsibilities assigned, a time frame and estimated amount of funding needed to implement it. These recommendations were presented to H.E. President Martinelli on the 23d of May, on the occasion of the inauguration of AMPYME's new Entrepreneurship Centre in Panama City. The eleven policy recommendations included:
Facilitating technology exchange and innovation
1. Strengthen the means of communication and diffusion of policies and programmes in information and communications technology and their impact on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
2. Conduct a diagnosis of the state of entrepreneurship, technology and innovation that provides a clearer picture of the current state of affairs in Panama.
3. Strengthen and reinforce university-enterprise-state alliances with the aim of promoting innovation and technology in SMEs.
Enhancing entrepreneurship education and skills
4. Develop and implement a law that incorporates the obligation to establish a chair in entrepreneurship at all levels of the education system. The law should clearly state the role of the public, private and education sector, and base itself on good practices from the Government and from international bodies such as UNCTAD.
5. Develop an interactive teaching methodology which makes use of case studies that are adapted to the local reality.
6. Establish a diploma programme in entrepreneurship for teachers and professors
7. Develop a public-private organization which promotes entrepreneurship in the different regions of the country, taking as its base AMPYME's Entrepreneurship Centre in Panama City.
Improving access to finance
8. Facilitate access to SMEs to the stock market
9. Include the recognition of both tangible and intangible goods as guarantees into the regulation.
10. Create financial mechanisms that reduce the gap between "seed capital" and "angel investors" with regards to access to funds.
11. Develop a database with complete information and details on available credit lines and services for entrepreneurs.