The managers of Government’s ten million Trust Loan Fund are being told to strip away red tape and make access easy for borrowers, the small business community’s leading spokesperson has said.
And the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association of Barbados (SBA) Senator Lynette Holder said it will also be monitoring the way in which the fund is managed.
While the association welcomed the fund as a breath of fresh air for entrepreneurs, she called on Government to put the right policies and measures in place to ensure that the fund is easily accessible.
“I would like to say to the managers of this Fund, note the importance of having a process that is enabling. What we do not need to see in the sector at this time is another bureaucratic process.
“We do not want another organization that is steeped in bureaucracy and as a result the funds are not easily accessible by the intended audience. We do not want that,” Senator Holder said, as she spoke Wednesday at the fund’s official launch, at its base in Building #4 in the Harbour Industrial Park.
The SBA receives complaints from small business owners on a weekly basis, regarding the challenges they experience in trying to access funding, Senator Holder claimed.
But this should not be the case since the issue in Barbados has never been one of availability of funding, but rather access to it, she said.
“So we need to ensure that that process is less bureaucratic. The SBA will be one of those agencies out front letting the public know if this fund is not working, if our members in the small business community tell us that they are unable to access funding because of these stringent and arduous regulations. That is not what we need in the sector,” she said.
Senator Holder also pointed out that various official reports done locally, and globally, have shown that the issue of access to finance and funding occurs primarily because of bureaucracy.
Under the programme, entrepreneurs can access loans of up to $5,000, at a minimal interest rate of between 1.5 to two per cent. Clients can also borrow twice this amount once they repay their initial loan.
Senator Holder said to play its role in ensuring the success of the initiative, the SBA will be offering its resources and services to those applicants who may need the help.