Barbados’ youth minister says there is a brave new world of opportunity opening to the country’s young people.
In his feature address at the opening of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment, Adrian Forde, said the BLP is taking a new approach to enterprise development with the establishment of Trust Loans and that youth could benefit.
“The recently launched Trust Loans will provide $10 million per year for each of the next five years to seed a Trust Loans Fund to assist existing small businesses or potential small business startups, in assessing security free loans of up to $5000 each,” Forde said, adding that these loans will lead to increased entrepreneurial activity.
“Increased entrepreneurial activity will go a long way in building more entrepreneurial citizens and excite our young people about getting involved in business, a borderless world where the technology opens new opportunities that were unavailable to previous generations,” he said.
Global Entrepreneurship Week was launched at Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business with the theme, Building A Productive Economy Through Resilient Entrepreneurs on Friday morning.
General Manager of Barbados Youth Business Trust Cardell Fergusson, said this year’s theme was chosen to tie in with national initiatives that foster economic activity.
“We therefore believe that by providing the young persons with the skills and resources that are needed to start a business, as well as support, we will be creating a class of persons who are able to contribute toward economic growth [as] we all have a part to play in the recovery and growth of the economy. Our part is the creation of productive entrepreneurs who stay the course,” Fergusson said.
Senior Business Development Officer The Barbados Agency for Micro Enterprise Development Limited (Fund Access) Karen Sue said that since the organization started in January 1998 to the present date has approved loans totaling 60.8M.
“From inception in January 1998 to October 31, 2018, Fund Access has approved loans totaling 60.8 million dollars to 1, 522 clients. Of these 724 were new businesses and 798 were expansions. Also approved for this period were 134 additional loans and 257 refined loans. 2313 jobs were created,” she said, adding that their business development officers work closely with businesses to ensure that closures are minimized.
“Our business development officers work assiduously to ensure business closures are minimized through close monitoring of said business, provision of technical assistance and of course training and development. All this speaks to our continued commitment to entrepreneurship, which we see as the backbone of our economy while emphasizing integrity in lending, as any young person can walk into the offices of Fund Access and be judged solely on the quality and viability of their application and nothing else,” Sue said.
The official start of Global Entrepreneurship Week begins on Sunday, November 11 with a church service at Christ The King Anglican Church at 8 a.m. and ends on Sunday, November 18 with a hike to Bath, St John.