Starting next Monday Barbadians can begin to apply for collateral free loans under the Government’s $10 million trust loan programme.
Acting Prime Minister George Payne Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, and other key officials launched the initiative at Building #4 Suite 102 , Harbour Road, St Michael, on Wednesday.
This is just over four months after it was first announced by Prime Minister Mia Mottley in her June 11 Budget.
“Next Monday this office will be open for business and within a matter of a few months two additional offices at Speighstown and Oistins will follow. All three offices will ultimately provide core business facilitation services to clients but for the time being the Bridgetown Office will make disbursements,” said Payne.
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 successfully repay their initial loan.
Payne told the gathering that Government was seeking to provide a comprehensive entrepreneurial framework for small business development and announced a number of support mechanisms.
These included an alternative and user friendly website, a financial literacy bureau to assist entrepreneurs in becoming more financially savvy and a mobile phone app that help entrepreneurs complete loan applications and make payments among other features
Plans were also outlined for a community based cluster initiative to promote business camaraderie, innovation, experience and knowledge sharing.
“The aim is to foster a national entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.
Sutherland said the trust loan programme would help to grow the economy from the bottom up by allowing working class Barbadians to benefit from access to capital to grow their businesses.