SBA provides Direct Assistance Grant Scheme workshop for SME’s
As efforts continue to get more Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) spreading their wings outside of Barbados, the local Small Business Association (SBA) is laying vital groundwork to make it become reality sooner rather than later.
“We were able last month, to explore those possibilities that existed when we held our first Export Forum in conjunction with the Caribbean Export Development Agency. Coming out of that we learnt more from small business about the constraints of accessing funding, supply side challenges and issues of standardisation and certification affecting the success of SMEs trading in the international arena,” she explained.
“The SBA just concluded another Export Forum, our Direct Assistance Grant Scheme workshop, here at our Secretariat in Pelican Industrial park, when we trained interested persons who would have been a part of the previous workshop and would have moved onto this developmental session, how to prepare an application for a grant;” The CEO of the SBA elaborated, “Grants are funds that are provided to start or expand a qualifying small-to-medium-enterprise that do not need to be paid back. This, of course, is their essential difference from small business loans, which do…”
She noted that the Association was trying to build up the capacity of its membership who were already exporting products and services, as well as those who were ready to export the same.
According to Holder, members who participated met certain criteria, including having a legally registered firm or be a registered individual operating in a CARIFORUM member state; trade in either the Alternative Energy, Agriculture, Agro-Processing, Creative Industries, Health & Wellness, Information Communication Technology, Manufacturing, Professional Services and Tourism.
“They must also have been in business for at least two years and be able to support this by being able to show the last two years financial statements and accounts. They must also be able to finance and sustain the project fully. That is why we are asking those taking part in this second phase to come prepared with project ideas. At the end of the workshop participants should have a project to submit to Caribbean Export,” Holder said.
“It is very difficult not to underscore the importance of Export readiness, particularly for a sector like small business; a sector that has so much potential looking to the future. The flexibility of SMEs put them in just the right position to not only adapt, but to also take advantage of the opportunity that will come as the economies outside the country turn around,” the CEO stressed.