Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 18, 2017 (SKNIS): Caribbean Export’s Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) Sensitization Workshop was held on April 18 for entrepreneurs wishing to receive financial aid for their businesses. This comes at an opportune time and makes for an excellent platform for a strategic alliance between the federation and the agency, especially given the current trade and business development focus of the Ministry of Trade and by extension the government, says Phillip Browne, Director of the National Entrepreneurship Development Division within the Ministry of International Trade, Industry and Commerce.
“This activity is timely because it comes at a time when much emphasis is being placed on the development of our Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), especially those with potential to create, manufacture and export,” he said. “It comes at a time when we are renewing and redoubling our efforts to provide support and bring structure to our small manufacturers and with the continued implementation of our National Manufacturing Strategy.
He added that the workshop comes at a time when the funding, that would have been made available at a nominal interest rate through the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis to offer a fresh start to many struggling businesses, would have been exhausted.
Mr. Browne said that the workshop is also timely as entrepreneurs are looking to seize the many opportunities that are before them as the business climate continues to improve.
“Given the forgoing, the government has been placing additional resources to enhance the business environment on a continuous basis and as such we welcome this intervention of Caribbean Export in the spirit of partnership so that we here in St. Kitts and Nevis can enhance our competitiveness and value of other brands and our enterprises here,” he said.
The director expressed that it is the government’s intention that a grant is available to entrepreneurs and enterprises in the federation and “that is why we are here today with Caribbean Export.”
It is hoped, said Mr. Browne that the participants – the entrepreneurs, the business support technicians alike – would make full use of the opportunity and to leave the session with the knowledge that would guarantee their success in obtaining funding for their businesses and clients.
Caribbean Export was established in 1996 by an intergovernmental agreement as a regional trade and investment promotion agency to serve 15 states of the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM). It is the only one of its kind in the African Caribbean Pacific group. The mission statement of the agency is to “enhance competitiveness and value of Caribbean brands through the delivery of transformative and targeted interventions in export development and investment promotion.”
The programme offers grants between €10,000 to €50,000.