Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, speaking at the start of the FundAccess Mix and Mingle event at Sweetfield Manor last Saturday night .

FundAccess’ role in building out the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector continues to be praised by Government.

Leading the charge recently was Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, as he delivered remarks last Saturday night at the start of the Fund’s Mix and Mingle event at Sweetfield Manor.

Recalling that when it first opened it was only there to provide financing, the Minister acknowledged that the Fund now provides an “innovative and flexible range” of financing options, enterprise training and technical and development assistance.

Commending management and staff for building out MSMEs, he said offering finance was not the only recipe for success for businesses.

He also expressed pleasure at FundAccess having created an estimated 2,400 job opportunities and approved loans totalling $64,296,515 to some 1,588 clients.

Minister Sutherland further pointed out that while statistics showed that 20 per cent of new businesses failed in the first year of operation and 50 per cent by the fifth, FundAccess could boast that approximately 75 per cent of businesses were still in operation after the fifth year.

Stressing this spoke to strong leadership and management, he noted the agency had diversified its portfolio into other commercial areas such as renewable energy, cultural and creative industries, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, information and communication technologies.

The Small Business Minister also endorsed the partnership with money, launched at the event, and praised its ability to bring about quicker access to funds, reducing the current arrangement of the three to five-day wait for the clearing of cheques to immediate availability of funds to eligible clients.

FundAccess clients heard from Mr. Sutherland that Government had started talks with non-governmental entities and international agencies to further address issues of financing and accommodate a number of clients.

While he explained that the transportation sector was among such clients deemed critical to infrastructural development, the Commerce Minister added: “I would love to see the day that FundAccess would open the flood gates to those persons and do so willingly. What they need is finance.

“So, we as a government will sit with FundAccess, non-governmental agencies and the international agencies to see how best we can facilitate these funds going into FundAccess so the transportation sector can indeed become a vibrant sector again in this country.”

It was also noted that soon the Ministry would relaunch the Small Business Development Centre, the framework through which Government would seek to build out the MSMEs, and FundAccess would aid in this process.

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