In an effort to better assist with the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) will be giving $1 million to FundAccess.

This move will provide start-up for small businesses, and give them easier access to more affordable financing. It will also assist them with developing a successful business, thus fostering a better business culture.

This disclosure came from Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, as he addressed the launch of the BIDC???s On the Road Programme, which was held at Bagnall Point Gallery, Pelican Village, yesterday.

The Minister pointed out that the money, which would be made available early in 2014, would give potential entrepreneurs an opportunity to ???change ideas into money-making ventures and successes???.

???With respect to financing for innovation-driven entrepreneurship, we found that while there are several funding schemes in place, these are under-utilised. In addition, there is limited knowledge or use of support schemes; limited access to business intelligence that can influence strategic planning and investment, as well as an inability among applicants to meet eligibility criteria for loan financing,??? he stated.

The Industry Minister noted that based on statistics obtained from the BIDC???s quarterly survey on the manufacturing and services sectors, it was evident that manufacturing continued to play a major role in Barbados??? economic performance. He, therefore, reassured local SMEs that Government was committed to providing the necessary support to businesses ???to exploit opportunities and minimise challenges to the sector???.

???An examination of the sector shows some 7,573 persons were employed in manufacturing at September 2013. According to the BIDC???s quarterly survey??? investment reported for the July to September 2013 period totalled $4.8 million, some $1.7 million more than the level of investment reported for the previous quarter. The Food, Beverages and Tobacco sub-sector and the Non-Metallic Mineral Products sub-sector emerged the biggest contributors, with investments totaling $2.3 million and $1.2 million respectively.

???With respect to the sector???s export performance??? exports certified by the BIDC have increased significantly this year over last year. Total certified exports (excluding oil and sugar) for the month of October alone were $28.9 million or 30 per cent higher than exports registered in October last year. That performance brought exports for the first half of the fiscal period (April ??? October 2013) to $178.6 million, a 26 per cent increase over exports during the comparative period in 2012. Rum continues to be the leading export commodity, followed by margarines, vegetable oils and cement,??? Mr. Inniss outlined.

He further declared that diversification, new sector and product development were necessary for Barbados to benefit from emerging opportunities and secure a place in international trade.

He added that it was important to continue to chart a solid, strategic path for manufacturing, one that engendered confidence and pride among key stakeholders and activated the incentives and resources necessary for the promotion of innovation, growth and competitiveness. Mr. Inniss further said that potential entrepreneurs needed to be aware of what was expected of them to satisfy market demands.??

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