Six business owners are the first recipients of Government’s first tranche of monies under the Trust Loan Fund.
They received their cheques during a presentation made by Manager of the Trust Loan Fund, Jerry Amos and witnessed by Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, at the Fund’s headquarters at Building #4 Suite 102, Harbour Road, St. Michael.
Among the recipients was Junior Howell, owner of Irie Kids Graphic Art and the first person to have filled out an application form when the Fund officially opened its doors on October 31.
He was followed by Evens Marcelin of Coyotes Den Sports Bar and Restaurant; Damian Prosper of Millennium Woodworks; Nina Field of Juice Fusion; Meisha Baird of A & B Poultry; and Tashema Foster of Memories Made.
Speaking to media representatives after the presentation, Mr. Amos elatedly said: “Today, after just five months of the promise to have micro business enfranchised, we have disbursed the first set of funds.”
While noting they had expected up to 15 persons would have received cheques during the brief ceremony, Mr. Amos noted the businesses ranged from event planning, carpentry, shops, natural juices and there were some artists, among them. The Fund’s Manager also stated that thus far, some 400 online applicants and about 440 walk in applications had been serviced.
While expressing that he was not surprised by the demand, he however lamented that persons were coming without quotations for what they wanted to receive. He therefore encouraged applicants to walk with the quotations for items they desired to purchase to avoid delays.
Queried about the timeframe to respond to requests for funding, the Manager said: “We were hoping for a 48 to 72 hour turn around but the demand for this has been so heavy that we have extended it in the meantime to five to seven days. We are hoping that after the demand drops off that we can actually honour our 48 to 72 hours.”
According to Mr. Amos, these first recipients and others poised to do so soon can expect to undergo training, along with some financial counselling and other advice via the Fund.
Elaborating further on this, Mr. Amos said: “We will do some small training and every two months we will follow to see how the business is progressing and over the period of time we will join with our partners, the SBA [Small Business Association] and other partners in the micro grouping business and we will have some training among that grouping for the partners in that programme.”
Reminding prospective loan recipients that the office on the Harbour Road opens from 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, the Fund’s Manager added that they can only be contacted by mobile phone, 231-1633. Completion and submission of applications may also be done online at the website www.trustloansbb.com.