$2m in loans taken so far
A MONTH after the Trust Loan Fund was officially launched, Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland is reporting favourable buy-in to the programme.
“We’ve had close to 1 000 loans and have nearly exhausted the first $2 million of the fund. Monday morning at the office around 8:15, we had 45 people waiting for loans to be processed,” he said.
The setting up of the fund was one of the promises made by the Barbados Labour
Party (BLP) during the last General Election.
The loan facility, which is separate from the Government’s Fund Access, provides unsecured loans at a very minimal interest rate and amounts of up to $5 000 will be loaned to persons in the first instance, and repayment will facilitate access to another $10 000. Government will provide
$10 million per year for each of the next five years to seed the programme.
“This has been one of the areas that the Government saw as critical to build out the local economy from the bottom up. We have now given small businesses the opportunities they would not have had without this initiative to access start-up capital for their businesses.
“These range for nail technician, mechanics to shopkeepers, a wide range of services with access to these loans, and it doesn’t end there. There is the Financial Literacy Bureau, which is providing the necessary support in terms of training, teaching people how to manage their finances,” Sutherland said, adding that it was necessary to provide the support so businesses did not fail, along with training in a number of areas.
He also revealed that retrenched workers were coming forward to access the loan, but did not give figures.
“They have been given priority because we recognise a number of them need the opportunity to have a business and continue earning the income that they would have been making before they would have been displaced through the retrenchment programme.
“We have been very amenable with respect to the loan facility to those workers who would have been retrenched and quite a few have accessed the loans,” the minister said.