The Barbados Trust Fund Limited is clearing the backlog of loan applicants dating back as far as last year, as the entity continues with its mandate to ensure that many Barbadians realise their dream of owning a business.
General Manager of Barbados Trust Fund Limited, Gerald Amos, and his team were present as funds were disbursed to 52 clients at the end of the networking session to conclude four days of training organised by the agency at the Parkinson Resource Centre, The Pine, St. Michael, on Thursday.
He said at present, there were approximately 1,300 clients still waiting, and those who received their funds represented a small portion of the number still outstanding. Mr. Amos promised to keep working on the number until it was brought down to a manageable one.
The General Manager explained that the clients were carefully selected, and the loans were disbursed to applicants involved in agriculture and manufacturing, as well as those who needed emergency funds.
He added: “It is not that we have excluded the others, but we looked at everyone and the priority areas and those who we believe can survive at this time. We know that it might be a challenge for new businesses coming into the market at this time. So, we had to assess everything and be very careful in our assessment.”
During the pandemic, Mr. Amos said some clients received a grace period of three months, while tourism-related businesses benefited from a six-month grace period to make loan payments. He said a proposal was recently taken to the Trust Fund Board to extend the grace period, which would be examined on a case-by-case basis.
The Trust Fund General Manager said the agency was also encouraging entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, those involved in renewable energy and technology, to apply for loans.
Mr. Amos said the Trust Fund recently received funds that allowed them to re-start their training and encouraged prospective clients to apply and “not let their dreams die”.