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'Back green entrepreneurs'

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (right) with IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno during a courtesy call.

A call has been made for Government and international agencies like the Inter-American Development Bank to direct green financial schemes towards Caribbean small businesses and their customers.

Dr. Roland Clarke, of Clarke Energy Associates, made this call as he addressed a panel discussion on the topic: Green Business – Renewable Energy with Focus on Solar Energy, during the Caribbean Day of FOROMIC 2012 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre earlier this week.

Clarke noted that a number of the incentives presently in place were targeted at customers rather than entrepreneurs seeking to enter the market. “There is no direct support for the entrepreneurial class. There is a need to support the entrepreneurs,” he said.

He tabled suggestions which included the application of the tax holiday concept to micro enterprises interested in renewable energy and other fields. “Why burden them with heavy reporting as with other large enterprises?” he queried.

The panellist pointed out that entrepreneurs faced significant barriers in the areas of marketing and business development, despite special emphasis being placed on the sector given its potential. “Small and micro enterprises are not equipped to compete against large companies internationally,” he said.

Renewable Energy Coordinator at the Barbados National Oil Company, Felicia Cox, added that small businesses involved in renewable energy often complained about the rigidity of the local financial sector.

“There are people, installers and homeowners, asking financial institutions to facilitate projects on renewable energy and the answer is ‘no’,” she said. She explained that prompted Government to respond, and it was agreed that such involvement would be reduced over time with an eventual exit. (BGIS)

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