GOVERNMENT is set to pump some $370M into a Small Business Development Fund (SBDF) this year, thereby increasing small business access to financing. The SBDF is to be fully operationalized through the collateral guarantee, interest subsidy and the Low Carbon grant schemes, thereby creating grassroots economic opportunities, supporting income generating ventures, improving livelihoods, enhancing productivity, and stimulating competitiveness in that sector.
These disclosures were made by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh in his recent presentation of the National Budget for 2013.
In his presentation, Dr. Singh stressed that Government saw the small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) as a new and emerging sector which was pivotal to improving livelihoods.
In this regard, and in continued support of the dynamic growth potential of SMEs, Government, in 2012, provided added stimuli to this sector through several initiatives, including easier access to credit, business advisory and marketing services and systems, and training.
The Small Business Bureau (SBB), for example, commenced the development of a policy framework for small businesses, and held a number of training workshops and seminars to improve the technical skills of small business owners.
Several owners of SMEs benefited from sessions dealing with such matters as customer care and service, and standards for the art and craft sector.
In keeping with this trend of unstinted support, Dr. Singh disclosed that, in 2013, more than 100 training sessions on business management, agro-processing, food handling, packaging, labelling, marketing, and information technology are to be held targeting 1,000 small business owners for further development of the sector.