The government has created a program to help small- and mid-sized businesses become suppliers to the public sector, Mexican Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray said.

"We are here to achieve a positive interaction between those who account for more than seven of every 10 jobs in Mexico ... and the biggest buyer of goods and services that there is in our economy, which is the government of the republic," Videgaray said.

The program's goal is to expand the ability of small- and mid-sized businesses to serve as government contractors in situations where fulfillment of the contract must be guaranteed or advances provided upfront.

The Finance and Public Credit Secretariat, the Economy Scretariat and the Business Coordinating Council worked together to develop the program, which is being backed financially by the National Entrepreneurship Institute, or Inadem, and state-owned development bank Nacional Financiera, or Nafin, the guarantor of up to half the risk on surety bonds.

The program will initially guarantee surety bonds totaling 2 billion pesos ($153.8 million) and is expected to benefit about 1,000 businesses during the start-up phase.

The businesses participating in the first phase of the program will have access to up to 30 million pesos ($2.3 million) in funding.

The program addresses "the inability of many small- and mid-sized businesses that offer quality products, have the production capacity and can be good government suppliers" to "meet the requirement of posting surety bonds that federal government rules mandate," Videgaray said. EFE