Bridgetown/BARBADOS. Local entrepreneurs are not taking full advantage of financing and business advisory services available to them.
So says, Ian Collymore, Assistant Director of the Central Bank. He was speaking at last weeks monthly entrepreneur’s forum themed: “Financing Options in Barbados,” hosted by the Finance Pillar of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation (BEF); at the Plantation Garden Theatre. The forum also marked the official launch of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation’s annual Entrepreneurship Summit.
In his presentation, Collymore provided an overview of the various systems provided by the Central Bank, which provide grant funds totaling over 15 million dollars to support businesses contributing to the export sector of this country. These included the Export Credit Guarantee Scheme, which allows local companies to obtain liberal finance facilities from their bankers for the production of goods for export. Also, the Export Finance Guarantee Scheme, The Industrial Credit Fund and the Tourism Loan Guarantee Facility. The latter facility is geared towards persons or companies providing accommodation for tourists; it offers up to $3 million, for any individual enterprise, or $6 million for a group enterprise.
The local financial expert encouraged business owners to do the necessary research to access these opportunities and advised them to ensure that all of their financial documents are in order when approaching any financial institution. Collymore lauded the BEF for seeking to expose local entrepreneurs to information on available financial services. He believes that the forum and the upcoming Summit would provide an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to learn more about viable financial opportunities available to them.
Programme manager of the BEF, Chris Harper agreeing with Collymore, indicated that the Entrepreneurship Summit would also allow entrepreneurs to network, learn and exchange information on financing opportunities. Harper encouraged the audience of local entrepreneurs and small business owners to purchase their tickets early for the Summit to take advantage of the prospects that will be provided there.
“This year’s Summit has been generating a lot of interest on an international and regional level. We intend to build on the huge success of last year and provide even more opportunities for this year’s attendees.” Harper said. “The conference is themed; ‘Being Number 1’ and will feature several interactive plenary sessions and feature presentations by outstanding members of the international and local, private and public sector. Patrons will have the opportunity to network and develop their business strategies with the help of experienced and motivated entrepreneurs.”
The Summit features several key speakers including: Neville Isdell, former CEO and Chairman of Coca-Cola; Jerry Blenman, Chairman and Managing Director of Calidad Investments; Alex Pratt, CEO and Founder of Serious Brands Group. It will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, November 17 and 18. Registration for the summit, including conference and gala, can be done online at: http://www.barbadosentrepreneurshipfoundation.org or http://bitly.com/befsummit2011.