Small Business and Commerce Minister, Dwight Sutherland, chatting with one of the Trust Loan Fund Unit’s clients, Nakita Alexander, owner of Le Flam Boutique. (A.Reid/BGIS)

A 100 per cent success rate is what the Trust Loan Fund Unit wants from persons who have accessed its funding.

This was underscored earlier today as Small Business and Commerce Minister, Dwight Sutherland, engaged in dialogue with two of the Fund’s clients, who operate in Bridgetown.

Speaking to owner of Le Flam Boutique, Nakita Alexander, he stressed: “My aim, when we give money, if we give out loans to 2,000 businesses [is] we want a 100 per cent success rate…. And, how successful you are, means this country will become successful.”

While thanking her for accessing the loan, the Minister said it would redound to Ms. Alexander’s benefit, and would allow her to hire more people. “Perhaps you can grow and expand and have another store and hire two or three [persons]. That is building out commerce in this country and also assisting with employment,” Minister Sutherland said.

He also discussed the importance of the Financial Literacy Bureau, which would be launched this week, in supporting businesses like Ms. Alexander’s.

He said: “What we find in this country is that it is okay to give businesses money, but at the end of the day if we don’t provide the necessary support and training…that some of these businesses in these tough economic times [would not survive].  And, it is in these times that you need to know how to manage the little resources that you have.

“So that is why we are providing the necessary training starting tomorrow, through something called the Financial Literacy Bureau. It is not just about managing finances… It is basically to help you with bookkeeping, and we have those persons who could come in and give you the necessary guidance to keep better records and see where your money is going.”

Manager of the Fund, Jerry Amos (centre) and officials look on as client David Harewood, proprietor of Liz Catering Beverages, serves a customer in the River Bus terminal. (A.Reid/BGIS)

Meanwhile, Manager of the Fund, Jerry Amos, noting Ms. Alexander was one of the first applicants who came to the Unit, described her as having a positive outlook and encouraging in her efforts to bring other folks along.

“It is good to finally get here and see what you are doing.  We wish you all the success. We will be here all the way to support you with any needs that you have. Keep up the good work and we hope that things will turn around very fast for you,” Mr. Amos said.

Emphasizing that training was mandatory for all who accessed the Fund and a prerequisite to moving on to the next stage of financing, Mr. Amos indicated to the businesswoman that persons had to attend at least 60 per cent of the classes. He disclosed that in the first four weeks the Unit would be targeting 350 persons, with 35 of them being targeted in the first session.

At the River Bus Terminal, Minister Sutherland met with proprietor of Liz Catering Beverages, David Harewood, whom he applauded for his success – that of being the first to repay the Unit for the loan he received in November.

Explaining that Mr. Harewood had repaid the loan in early January, he said: “Well indeed this is the whole aim of the programme, to provide the seed capital to help persons grow their business, as we have seen here with Mr. Harewood.

He was able to access products; he had a goal; he sampled his products, he came for the trust loan and he purchased his products and indeed what was critical was he repaid the loan and even made a profit…

“This is a success story – someone who is credible and honest, and who indeed wants to see his business grow. And, he is now on the verge of accessing another $5,000 to grow his business and we want to see businesses follow suit. This is indeed an example of how we want this Trust Loan Fund to be revolving so that other persons can benefit.”

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