Government launches new initiative to aid small businesses

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Nov 1, CMC – The Barbados government says citizens can begin assessing its BDS$10 million (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) trust loan programme on Monday four months after the new Mia Mottley administration announced the initiative in its first national budget.
“Next Monday this office will be open for business and within a matter of a few months two additional offices at Speighstown and Oistins will follow. All three offices will ultimately provide core business facilitation services to clients but for the time being the Bridgetown Office will make disbursements,” Acting Prime Minister George Payne said at the launch of the initiative.
Under the programme, entrepreneurs can access loans of up to BDS$5,000 at a minimal interest rate of between 1.5 to two per cent. The government said clients can also borrow twice this amount once they successfully repay their initial loan.
Payne said that the new government which came to power following the May general election, is seeking to provide a comprehensive entrepreneurial framework for small business development and announced a number of support mechanisms.
He said these include an alternative and user friendly website, a financial literacy bureau to assist entrepreneurs in becoming more financially savvy and a mobile phone app that help entrepreneurs complete loan applications and make payments among other features
He said plans were also being developed a community based cluster initiative to promote business camaraderie, innovation, experience and knowledge sharing.
“The aim is to foster a national entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.
Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Minister, Dwight Sutherland, who was also present at the launch, said the trust loan programme would help to grow the economy from the bottom up by allowing working class Barbadians to benefit from access to capital to grow their businesses.
The government said the new initiative is separate from FundAccess, which provides financing up to BDS$150,000.

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