Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, met with the new Board of Directors of the Barbados Trust Fund Limited (BTFL) on Monday, to discuss the strategic direction of that entity, formerly known as the Trust Loan Unit.
Central to the minister’s discussions was the mandate given with respect to the following matters: digitization of the BTFL; transfer of clients from the informal sector to the formal sector; the development of an effective public relations campaign; strategies to address delinquencies; improvements to the governance and operational framework of the BTFL; and build-out of the Financial Literacy Bureau and the Community Cluster programme.
Since Cabinet’s approval of the establishment of the Trust Loan Unit on August 2, 2018, and its official launch on October 29, 2018, the BTFL has exceeded its initial loan disbursement targets.
Minister Sutherland, in providing an update on the fund, said: “The company has disbursed approximately $9,887,325.30 to 2,186 persons.
“These loans were disbursed to persons from the Agricultural, Cultural Industries, Manufacturing, Retail, Services and Tourism sectors. The loan recipients from the agricultural sector constituted persons in the areas of farming, fisheries and animal husbandry. The recipients from the manufacturing sector were in the areas of garments, arts and craft, bakery and natural juices, among others. Clients from the retail and distribution sectors were from the areas of pharmaceuticals, frozen products, household products and bars. The services sector included entertainment, maintenance, education, landscaping, barbering and catering.”
Minister Sutherland further noted that the objective of the initiative was to provide $10 million per year for each of the next five years to seed a Trust Loan Fund, in order to give all small businesses/entrepreneurs and business owners, security-free loans of up to $5,000.00 each.
“When this loan is fully paid and the borrower has built a good credit profile, the business/owner would be eligible for another loan of up to an additional $10,000.00. These loans are available to all legitimate small business owners in every category of business,” he said.
Acknowledging that clients have begun to repay their loans to the BTFL, he said some persons had even fully repaid their loans and were currently seeking additional funds.
The BTFL is open to business, and is prepared to serve the micro and small enterprise needs of citizens. Located at Building #4, Harbour Industrial Estate, Harbour Road, St. Michael, the Fund’s Manager is Gerald Amos.