Venture Capital Fund yet to be operationalised

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Close to a year after government announced the launch of a controversial fund for female entrepreneurs, and reports that it was oversubscribed, the project is yet to get off ground.

During the 2016 Budget Debate, Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed that $2 million had been allocated to a Venture Capital Fund, which is expected to specifically target female entrepreneurs on the island.

Later on in the year Browne indicated the fund, in which his wife, Maria Browne, was expected to play a key role through her charity Share Incorporated, would have been increased from $2 million to $5 million.

The fund was expected to be handled by the Antigua & Barbuda Development Bank.

Chairman of the Bank Carlton Lake told OBSERVER media, this week the fund was a work in progress.

He said when the initiative was first proposed to the financial institution a team from the bank examined it with the view of providing some recommendations to the government.

This, he said, was then forwarded to the permanent secretary within the Ministry of Trade.

Several attempts to reach the PS for Trade have proven futile.

This newspaper also sought comment from Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who said the project was left in the hands of the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank from the moment the first deposit was made.

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