CIBC FIRSTCARIBBEAN ASSISTS YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS
A number of young budding entrepreneurs will be the beneficiaries of a generous donation from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank through the Cherry Tree Trust.
The four year old trust, a privately funded nonprofit charity established in 2011, focuses on young business persons who may have not met the requirements to qualify for loans from the banking system possibly because they are too young, don’t have the collateral or don’t have enough experience in business.
The Cherry Tree Trust is designed to give them that chance by lending funds – up to $15,000 in the case of a new business and up to $25,000 for an existing business. The main objective of the Trust which was founded by a former CEO of the Bank – Charles Pink is to foster growth in Barbados by finding a way to support small businesses.
During the short hand-over ceremony at the bank’s headquarters in Warrens and following the signing of the agreement, the bank committed a total of $150,000 over a 5 year period to assist the Trust in ensuring access to funding for these entrepreneurs who can now apply for the available funding.
Application forms must be obtained online at thecherrytreetrust.com because the Trust has no office space or full time staff which ensures that all the funds contributed – from private donations – are channelled to the beneficiaries. All of the Directors and those who assist in the administration of the charity give of their time and professional expertise voluntarily.
Following receipt of the application, a short list is made and those chosen, go before a panel which will meet to assess and judge the applications that are to receive funding. On successful confirmation of the application, the loan is issued and a mentor is appointed to assist the applicant with advice in areas where some skills may be lacking in the young entrepreneur.
To date the Charity has assisted in the setting up of a variety of businesses including garden maintenance and landscaping services, a retail outlet, fashion designers, entertainers and a mini mart.
“CIBC FirstCaribbean is happy to be a part of this charity and to be able to assist the small micro businesses who would normally fall outside of the scope of our bank. Through the Trust, we can still lend a hand as it is a way of promoting economic and social growth for Barbados when we support the young entrepreneurs,”said Managing Director for Barbados Donna Wellington after handing over the cheque to Renee Kowlessar, a director and trustee of the trust.
Kowlessar, explained that the trust offered unsecured loans for up to 5 years at a 5% fixed interest rate. She said so far all of the loan recipients have been servicing their loans. “We have had some paying late because of their cash flow situation but they always catch up and so we have had no real credit issues” she added.