Minister of Small Business Development, Donville Inniss; UNDP GEF/Small Grants Programme Subregional Associate Programme Officer, Tamaisha Eytle and SBA President, Dean Straker at the launch of the Solar Transport Project today. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

State agencies have been given a directive, to revisit their lending policies to make it easier for small businesses to access financial assistance that will ultimately lead to a growth of the sector.

Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development,  Donville Inniss, made this disclosure today while addressing the launch of the Small Business Association’s (SBA) Solar Transport Project in National Heroes Square, the City.

While he lauded the work of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation and Fund Access, he said he had pointed out in a meeting with officials in a state-run finance agency that more needed to be done to provide easier access to funding to get small businesses “up and running”.

The Minister noted that commercial banks had been doing theirn part to provide better interest rates and terms and conditions for entrepreneurs and added: “It would be sad if a state-owned agency that is responsible for lending to the sector adopt the same stringent rules as commercial banks”.

“This sector is what is really going to turn this country around.  We spend a lot of time in Barbados speaking negatively about the state of the economy and all the doom and gloom but I really think that we must be a little bit more positive in our society.  We must celebrate those who have worked really hard.  I find that in the midst of what people call a prolonged economic challenge that more and more Barbadians are coming to the fore, wanting to start their own business and we must therefore give them full support,” he stated.

Mr. Inniss contended that support for the sector must not only be financial but must be demonstrated by purchasing the goods and services being produced by entrepreneurs across the island.

He said his Ministry and the SBA, will shortly announce a suite of new initiatives aimed at moving the sector forward. He thanked First Citizens Bank, the title sponsor for the Association’s Week of Activities and the United Nations Development Programme, for their partnership under the Small Grants Global Environmental Fund Programme (GEF).

He urged entrepreneurs to take advantage of funding under the GEF Programme to grow their businesses.  Minister Inniss thanked the present and past SBA team for bringing the project to fruition.

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