The success of small and micro enterprises depends on the provision of timely, relevant and appropriate micro finance.
Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, emphasised this recently while addressing a gathering of clients at a function sponsored by the Government-owned Agency for Micro Enterprise Development (FundAccess) at the Barbados Hilton Resort.
“This sector has been earmarked by our administration, this Government, as a leading driver of growth and recovery of the Barbados economy,” said Minister Sutherland at the Mix and Mingle event that was aimed at fostering and building client relationships in that setting.
Pointing out that access to funding was one of the main issues confronting the sector, he added: “The ideas, the passion, the drive of several entrepreneurs are hindered by processes and procedures that are insensitive to this entrepreneurship mindset.”
Government was said to be looking critically at how to reduce the hassles often associated with getting finance on easy terms and the Small Business Minister indicated he had been reliably informed that, over the years, it had been the policy of FundAccess to identify areas of gaps in the credit delivery system and to fill them through devising new lending and financing schemes.
Stating that four such schemes had been established, he listed these as the Business Boost, the Business Escalator, the Business Pro and the Business Innovator. While the Business Boost caters to first time and or expanding entrepreneurs, the Business Escalator is for farmers, manufacturers, contractors and hospitality traders, inclusive of those whose projects need equipment upgrades, plant expansion, working capital, export development, marketing or technical assistance.
The Business Pro is intended to fund start-up capital for professionals hoping to open or expand their practices; and the Business Innovator targets the cultural industry practitioners and Information Communications Technology specialists.
Mr. Sutherland added that he would later be inquiring of clients about their experiences with the various schemes and advised them to also hold Government accountable for the stated goal of making funding easier to access. “Our administration will not be satisfied until we get more funding to persons who need it,” he concluded.
FundAccess was congratulated for reaching its 20th year of business, serving the micro enterprise community and empowering entrepreneurs to excel in their respective endeavours of business, while they continued to make an invaluable contribution to the socio-economic development of Barbados.