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Committed to small businesses

Government has established a number of facilities to assist the development of the business community and will continue to put policies and support mechanisms in place to reinforce its commitment.

This was underscored by Minister of Industry, Small Business and Rural Development, Denis Kellman, while addressing a breakfast meeting hosted by the Barbados chapter of Business Network International at the Dining Club, today.

Reviewing a number of initiatives which were established under the aegis of his ministry to support small business development, Kellman highlighted the National Micro Grant Programme as one example of such assistance. He said that it provides funding of $3,000 to assist micro businesses with the purchase of equipment and products. The minister revealed that through the Grant “over 509 micro businesses have benefitted … in the amount of $1.93 million. These businesses have supported the employment of 915 persons.”

He also mentioned FundAccess which, he said provides a more “accommodative process” to financing, noting that while “access to financing has been cited as a barrier to the growth and development of the small business”, several persons were able to receive financing through that agency.

The minister pointed out that “between January 2008 and October 2012, FundAccess has approved 509 loans…, disbursements have totalled $20.45 million … [and] these loans have supported 602 job opportunities.”

He added that as a result of the technical assistance and guidance given to persons accessing loans from FundAccess, there were only three business closures and the delinquency rate was under 19 per cent.

Further underscoring Government’s support of small and medium-sized enterprises, the minister highlighted 102 new businesses which were established through the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation from January 2008 to March 2012. He pointed out that the Corporation invested $2.68 million in the businesses thus facilitating the creation of 190 jobs.

In addition, Kellman disclosed that some of the 254 loans, totalling $1.4m, were provided through the Rural Development Commission’s Rural Enterprise Loan Programme. These, he said, led to the creation of 344 jobs.

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