Minister of Trade, Dr. David Estwick (far right), addressing craft persons during a meeting at the Bagnall’s Point Gallery.

Government has heard the cries of scores of craft persons who have been appealing for assistance with funding to get their businesses started.

To this end, Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick, has announced the establishment of a revamped business development unit within the Ministry. The facility should be fully operational in about three months.

He made this disclosure while addressing a Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) meeting for craft persons. The meeting was held on Monday in the Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre.

Pleading with the artisans to be patient while Government addressed the issues that had impeded the growth of their businesses, Dr. Estwick made it clear that the BIDC did not have an equity development arm and could not provide grants or soft loans to the artisans.

Despite the uncertain economic times, he gave the assurance that Government would not allow the small and micro business sectors to falter.

Dr. Estwick stressed: “BIDC does not have an equity development arm because that is not part of its mandate. In fact, we have just re-organised the business development unit which now functions within the Ministry of Economic Affairs.”  He further added that to complement this facility “we will have a funding mechanism where we can provide micro business funding and grants or soft loans to purchase equipment.

“But you have to appreciate something, Government cannot do it alone. We are trying hard in the face of growing difficulties,” Dr. Estwick asked.       

In urging the sector to work with Government, the Minister highlighted the conditions under which funding could be accessed.

“Those who come with legitimate situations that have a legitimate capacity to develop Barbados and are identified as a small or micro entity, we will ensure that when the due diligence has been completed, we assure you that you will get the opportunity for the funds that you need to get,” he stressed.

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