The Barbados Trust Fund Limited took a decision to “top-up” the loans of some of their clients as a buffer to help them keep their businesses from going under, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
General Manager of the Fund, Gerald Amos, made this disclosure on Thursday during a networking and loan disbursement session for 52 clients, who participated in a four-day workshop at the Parkinson Resource Centre, The Pine, St. Michael.
Mr. Amos revealed that it was “painful to hear how small businesses had been affected over the last four months” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and said the agency had stepped in and assisted.
“What we have attempted to do however, is to look at these clients, those who we believe we could help to survive; we brought them back in and gave them a top-up on their loans.
We realise that we cannot do it for everyone at this time, but gradually try to strengthen those businesses however we can. All the assistance given may not be financial, but we would use avenues such as this training to try to get persons back on their feet,” he assured.
Regarding the training, Mr. Amos said it allowed participants the opportunity to share their ideas with other entrepreneurs and form clusters. Additionally, the General Manager said Business Development Officers were in the field interacting with clients to ascertain the training needs to inform future training sessions.
He said the participants were pleased with the information received during the sessions. “From the feedback, the participants really enjoyed this week’s sessions and it was good to come out into the community with a different atmosphere…. From what I am seeing here, the classes were really nice.”
Meanwhile, course participant and owner of D&N Distribution, Neesa Williams, who was recently made redundant after a decade in the tourism sector, said the pandemic forced her to examine the next steps.
“I put my head to the block and I decided that I am going to come up with a company and see if I can incorporate some of my previous skills into this company. There are lots of people out there with raw talent, but don’t know how to market themselves. So, I decided to form a company where I could incorporate all of our suppliers and see how we can work together to get their services out there,” she added.
Alyson Holder of Alyson Holder productions – a photographer with approximately 10 years’ experience, said now was a good time to take her operation to the next level. “I plan to use the funds to upgrade my equipment and services and the affiliate skills that I need for moving forward, particularly with this year. There are so many challenges that we do not foresee, and I had a lot of plans that had to be altered. “Working with the Trust and discussing with them the different things I can apply to my infrastructure and the links I can make with other sole traders has actually opened up a few avenues on how I can expand my business,” she said.