Barbadians appear to be keep up with loan payments to the Trust Loan Fund, Government’s $10 million financial lifeline for startup businesses.
Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, has revealed that despite there being a month remaining of a six-month grace period, persons who have borrowed from the fund, have already begun to repay. He pointed out that while some may have been skeptical about a loan system that was not collateral-based, early indications were quite positive for the revolving loan scheme.
“The repayment of these loans is supposed to come at the end of May. Initially we had given a six-month grace period, we recognize this was a long period, but people have started repaying the loan within two months of us issuing the loan. People are definitely living up to the whole idea of trust, which is the whole idea behind these loans,” Sutherland told Barbados TODAY recently.
He added, “The people of this country trust us to look after their affairs, so I see no reason why we can’t have faith and trust in the people of Barbados.”
Additionally, the Minister revealed that the number of loan recipients has dramatically increased from 700 last month to over 2000 persons.
“I want to thank Prime Minister Mia Mottley for entrusting that programme to me. We have distributed over 2000 loans thus far. I have ensured that loans were distributed throughout all of the constituencies because we try to be fair. Dwight Sutherland alone winning his seat in the next election will do nothing for this country, so one can’t go about trying to be self-serving because at the end of the day we are all Barbadians,” he said.
The Minister told Barbados TODAY that the majority of the loans have gone towards businesses in the service industry.
“We have a lot of applications for businesses within the service sector. We are talking within the area of cultural industry and the tourism sector. Those have accounted for more than 50 per cent of the loans,” Sutherland revealed.
At the launch last November, Sutherland pointed out that the Trust Loan Fund, a new initiative of Government, was conceptualized to evolve Barbados into a world leader in entrepreneurial development.
“The short-term objective is to create a framework that would maximize the income-earning potential of individuals, with a more medium to long-term view of having a successful entrepreneur in every Barbadian household, which will ultimately allow for the penetration of the Barbados brand into regional and international markets,” he explained then.
Under the programme, applicants can qualify for loans of up to $5,000, with an opportunity to borrow twice the amount on successful repayment of the initial loan.