GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE POSSIBLE FOR ENTREPRENEURS

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Government can assist in underwriting loans to new entrepreneurs who “do not satisfy the stringent and unnecessary, though existing criteria for lending.”

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, David Thompson made this disclosure yesterday as he addressed the official opening of the new Scotia Bank Rockley Branch at Coconut Walk, Rockley.

He stressed that the enterprise culture must be fostered in order to enable more Barbadians to identify niches in the market and take advantage of them. He said, therefore, that provisions that were already in place were being augmented, and organisations such as the Youth Enterprise Scheme, the Barbados Youth Business Trust and FundAccess would need to redouble their efforts to produce more entrepreneurs.

Mr. Thompson conceded that there were “several monumental hurdles that had to be overcome, including high entry barriers and under-capitalisation. “Too many small businesses do not make provision for the setting of high standards, increasing efficiency and productivity,” he opined.

“Invariably they make provision only for working capital and not capital expenditure. Many of them complain that access to capital is the problem,” the Prime Minister added. He made an appeal to major banks to review their policies with respect to funding entrepreneurs from the new classes, “many of whom do not have a track record in business”.

He explained that new enterprises were necessary in order to diversify the economy and at least maintain Barbadians’ high standard of living. “In the global marketplace the only guaranteed job in small jurisdictions will be a job created and done within a niche market,” Mr. Thompson observed.

He added: “We need lots more Barbadians who no longer think in terms of finding a job, but who are constantly on the lookout for business opportunities, drawing on a variety of talents and who are able to take advantage of those opportunities.”

The Prime Minister said that people were needed who not only had the ability to innovate and create wealth, but who also have the drive and other resources to transform a good business idea into reality.

“This is the new imperative and, as a responsible Government, we have to create the conditions for this to happen,” he stressed.

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