At a time when businesses are folding as a result of the ongoing global economic crisis, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), is reporting an increase in the number of businesses being established across the island.

Manager of the Entrepreneurial Development Division, Michael Bynoe, said that so far, 26 new businesses had started up operations with projections of eight more to come on stream by the end of the first quarter.

Giving an insight into the types of operations, the BIDC senior executive stated that the enterprises spanned a range of services including food and beverage, specialty chocolates and medical appliances.

Mr. Bynoe observed: "Despite what we hear about the recession, our experience is that in an economic downturn, most people want to start a new business because they are concerned about their overall condition of living and maintaining themselves if they become unemployed."

He further explained that providing the start-up capital to assist the entrepreneurs was not a financial burden on the Corporation.?? "Generally the initial start-up capital for micro-businesses was not a substantial amount.?? On average, it can be in the region of $10,000 to $15,000 per business, which is usually secured by loan financing and the owner’s equity.?? The BIDC then provides the additional assistance in the areas of marketing, training, product development and packaging, which can sometimes exceed the initial start-up costs."

Mr. Bynoe also pledged continued support for the sector as a means of driving economic activity. "The micro sectors are the areas we would have to concentrate on to maintaining our employment rate.?? The micro-sector supports the economy of Barbados in general and our [BIDC] thrust going forward would be to strengthen that sector.?? Unfortunately, the micro sector is not that formalised and we need to put a formal structure in place."

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