Since the opening of the Barbados Agency for Micro Enterprise Development Limited (FundAccess) in 1998, it has pumped millions of dollars into the Barbadian economy, and created employment on a weekly basis.
This was disclosed recently by General Manager, Esther Lord-Graham, as she addressed FundAccess’ official disbursement of funds to members of the newly-formed United Transport Cooperative Ltd. (UTC), which consists of former Transport Board employees, who are involved in Government’s Transport Augmentation Programme (TAP).
The cheque presentation was held at the Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.
While noting that the 38 employees had come together as a cooperative “to assist the Board in providing transport solutions to the travelling public of Barbados”, Mrs. Lord-Graham thanked Ambassador Dr. Clyde Mascoll and the Ministry of Finance for ensuring the agency received funding to make TAP a reality.
Lauding her agency’s efforts, she stressed: “For the last 21 years, FundAccess has been, without much fanfare, employing Barbadian entrepreneurs, from the snow cone vendor employing just one person to the manufacturer employing some 20 persons.
“We have so far pumped over $65 million into the Barbadian economy, creating an average of two jobs per week, for every week that we have been in existence. Additionally, the services of our Business Development Department have ensured that contrary to the saying that small businesses close after the first year to 18 months, the majority of clients funded by FundAccess have remained in business; some of them even celebrating their anniversary along with FundAccess.”
While admitting she could not state the dollar value of jobs the loan agency had created, Mrs. Lord-Graham said job creation was known to have a positive impact on poverty reduction and stability in any economy.
She welcomed UTC on board, as she commended those who had benefited over the years, saying: “FundAccess clients have contributed to the GDP by creating additional employment opportunities; have created wealth and income and in doing so have minimized pressure on the social welfare system of Barbados.
“It is thus fitting that FundAccess should welcome into its family these former workers who will not only provide an extremely valuable service to the travelling public of Barbados, but a class of entrepreneurs, who have seized an opportunity: set out organizing themselves; lobbying for themselves; getting expert advice and counselling; and generally doing everything that an entrepreneur should do in order to ensure that their model is a sound one. This is an excellent example of what can happen when government and entrepreneurs work together in the procurement of goods and services.”