Over 1,700 businesses are continuing to thrive as a result of the Trust Loan Fund.
Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, disclosed this recently at the closing ceremony of a community-based training programme in St. Lucy, hosted by the Trust Loan Unit, in collaboration with the Youth Development Programme of the Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment.
The event was held on the grounds of the St Lucy Parish Church Rectory. Reminding participants that Government had pledged a year ago to revive micro, small and medium enterprises, Minister Sutherland stressed this still remained an objective of the Loan Fund.
“We will indeed create growth from the bottom up because we recognise that the trickle-down effect will not work in an effort to stimulate and revive businesses among the old, the youth, people with disabilities…
We created the Trust Loan Division and what that set about to achieve was to provide seed capital, small financing for businesses like what I am seeing here today – startup businesses,” he said, noting that since November 5, the Fund had disbursed over 1,700 loans and trained over 500 recipients.
Elaborating further, the Minister said: “So, we are not just giving loans to people or giving money to people. What we are doing with those persons who come to the Trust Loan [Division] is that we are holding their hands. We are making sure that your businesses are given the necessary training whether it is in marketing, financial management, branding or customer service… These are the key areas that we find small businesses usually fail in because if they are not given the sustainable tools… then they are not able to bring customers to the business.”
While he acknowledged that Government aimed to see working class people empowered through the Fund, the Minister encouraged participants wishing to take their business beyond Barbados to do so.
He further told participants entrepreneurship was about creating new and innovative things and stressed there was always something “magical, fundamental and new” that each of them could create to attract persons in First World countries.
He therefore urged the entrepreneurs to use the monies and training provided by the Trust Loan Division to do new things in cosmetology, catering and farming and to utilise hydroponics and other technologies “to be groundbreaking” as they offer these services in the region and beyond.
Sutherland also praised the efforts of Youth Commissioner for St Lucy, Monique James, and said he would love to see all youth commissioners working to revive entrepreneurship and the micro, small and medium enterprise sector.
The community-based training at St Lucy saw participants benefitting from four modules namely: Management 101, Financial Literacy, Customer Service and Marketing. Its key aim was to build the financial literacy of the average Barbadian to allow for sound financial and planning decisions.