One commercial bank says it is cognizant of the challenges the small and medium-sized enterprise sector faces and pledges to do more to help the sector flourish.
Manager of Corporate Credit at Republic Bank (Barbados) Ltd. Stacey Hem Lee said the financial institution considered the SME sector critical to economic growth and would therefore be doing what it could to assist.
“Republic Bank Financial Holdings Ltd recognizes how critical SMEs are to the growth and development of the region’s economies. As such the Republic Bank Group is placing special focus on this segment,” she said.
As such, she said late last month the bank had launched its Republic SME Toolkit, the latest in a series of strategic initiatives meant to put the collective weight of the group behind the development of the region’s SME sector.
“For the Caribbean, SMEs are vital not only as employers but also as drivers of growth, innovation and healthy competition. However, there can be a disconnect between the value of SMEs to the region’s economic and social growth and the scarcity of resources to guide and support SMEs in achieving said growth,” said Hem Lee.
“Both the public and private sectors have a key role to play in filling these gaps. While banks play a primary role in making financing accessible, they also provide key advisory services that can be of use to both established and emerging SMEs. This is the intention behind the Republic SME Toolkit, which is an upgrade from its predecessor launched in Barbados back in 2007, the Caribbean toolkit portal,” she added.
The banker said the new and improved Republic SME Toolkit aims to provide SMEs with access to information and training, as well as guidance on a range of issues relevant to small business owners, from managing a business to drafting a business plan and accessing legal accounting and financial advice, all via a free portal.
“We are confident that Republic Bank’s initiatives will assist in building the blocks to recovery,” she said.