Training for clients of the Trust Loan Fund (TLF) Unit represents the commencement of a national training initiative intended to position entrepreneurs and small businesses to better leverage opportunities expected from a resurged national economy and global market place.
Small Business Minister, Dwight Sutherland, stated this today, at the official launch of the training at the headquarters of the Small Business Association, Building #4, Harbour Industrial Estate, where clients participated in their first session entitled Managing Your Small Business.
Commending the collaborative work of the Small Business Association (SBA) and the TLF, in coordinating the training, he noted that the SBA had, for a long time, played a critical role in developing entrepreneurs and was a key stakeholder articulating a vision for a sector that contributes approximately 67 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The TLF, he added, had already begun to punch above its weight and was being recognized as a trailblazer in the provision of affordable finance to small businesses across this country.
“The TLF is also being positioned to give added impetus to the national effort to ensure that the micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector contributes meaningfully to the growth of the national economy and to give opportunity to average Barbadians to own a business,” Mr. Sutherland said.
Meanwhile, Manager of the Unit, Jerry Amos, in endorsing the Minister’s comments, said: “To date, we have approximately 1,300 applications. We have already approved 352 loans and we have another 111 applications that we have already reviewed and approved and the others, we are just waiting to go through them one by one, as the criteria has changed quite a bit.”
He also noted that the majority of applicants were from the service and retail sectors, with quite a few in manufacturing. Explaining how they were working to encourage others to access the funding, Mr. Amos stated: “What we are trying to do is push the cultural industries. We are trying to get some folks from tourism, so what we are actually going to do is reach out to them and try to see if we can get them to come forward for the loan because some people don’t fully have an understanding of what it is. And, I guess some people are saying ‘well $5,000 may not be able to meet what they are actually doing, but it can help them to get through…. So, we actually have to get out there and greet them and meet them where they are at.”