Scotiabank today launched a $50 million loan facility –– the Economic Growth Fund –– to assist eligible small and medium sized businesses to access loans at an interest rate as low as six per cent.
The facility, which is available to businesses involved in manufacturing, export, professional services, transportation, distribution and alternative energy services, will grant loans ranging from a minimum of $50 000 to a maximum of $4 million.
Both Minister of Industry and Small Business Development Donville Inniss and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Christopher Sinckler welcomed and lauded the initiative which was launched at a media event this morning.
Managing Director of Scotiabank Eastern Caribbean David Noel said the new product was developed in an effort to encourage growth of the SME sector and the economy.
“We have developed a programme which we believe can seriously benefit the private sector and help to boost our local economy,” he said.
“We have taken this step because we at Scotiabank believe that we have a responsibility to help grow the economy. While Government has a critical role to play, they can’t solve all the issues on their own. We all have to get involved in finding solutions to our economic challenges,” Noel added.
Congratulating Scotiabank on the new initiative, Minister Inniss, said it was “a manifestation of the faith” that the bank had in the Barbados economy.
Acknowledging that some micro and small businesses were still experiencing challenges trying to access loans to upgrade their operations, Inniss said he hoped the facility would help to allay some of those challenges.
Minister Sinckler, described the move as bold and courageous.
“In an environment where people are more cautious about how they utilize their resources to invest, we have to try to create at least those windows of opportunity that would allow for those persons with good ideas and products to be able to invest and see a return on their investment,” he said.
He added: “This is a very important initiative. It speaks to the confidence that the institution has in the economy of Barbados. I want to encourage all financial institutions of this type and nature who have the space and wherewithal to take this, not as a hint, but as a lead towards improving that investment climate in Barbados by making resources available to our business people to be able to allow them to contribute even greater to the development of Barbados’ economy and society.”
Start-up businesses, speculative investments and individuals with a history of bad debt are not eligible to apply.
Through the facility, companies will be able to apply for loans to acquire new or used capital equipment for business use, reengineer or retool their production process and facilities, modernize their technology and implement energy efficient solutions.
Scotiabank also launched a similar Economic Growth Fund for the Eastern Caribbean valued at EC$50 million.