Fund To Help Small, Medium Businesses.
THE private sector in the Eastern Caribbean is in line for a $50 million boost as Scotiabank has announced the launch of its Economic Growth Fund.
The special loan facility is specifically for small and medium sized businesses which will be able to benefit from specially discounted financing, waived fees and lower equity requirements. The fund will be available for the next six months to businesses in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“We all have a role to play in getting our economies moving again,” declared David Noel, managing director of Scotiabank Caribbean East.
He noted that Scotiabank is the only private sector institution in the Eastern Caribbean to offer such a programme. The loan fund will finance companies that are seeking to expand, purchase new equipment or modernize their technology and tools for the purposes of heightening operational efficiencies and competitiveness.
Scotiabank country manager for St. Lucia, Phillip Cross, said the Bank saw a need to put an intensive effort into supporting businesses that can boost the country’s economic output, bring in foreign exchange and create jobs.
“Scotiabank has been in St. Lucia for over 50 years so we’re not just a financial institution but a partner and a part of the community. Restoring and stimulating economic growth benefits the whole society and this fund is aimed at helping that to happen.”
He emphasised that the fund would be heavily focused on efforts that could boost productivity or improve the efficiency and competitive edge of local businesses.
“So for instance if a company is looking to install energy efficient solutions or purchase a piece of equipment that will expand the range of what they can do, those are the kinds of projects that we will be very interested in supporting through the Fund,” explained Cross.
Companies in manufacturing, distribution, professional services, transportation, export and green energy sectors are eligible for funding. Noel noted:
“Economic diversification is important for the long-term success of our countries and we feel that these sectors need a greater level of assistance, particularly since they are often capital-intensive. With this loan fund, we’re aiming to help build a strong business sector that can bring more jobs and more foreign exchange into the economy.”
Cross said the fund showed Scotiabank’s commitment to the economy and their belief in the ability of local businesses to capitalise on the opportunity given.
“We know that St. Lucia’s businesses can rebuild the economy, once given the support they need to develop and improve their companies. With the Economic Growth Fund, Scotiabank is offering that support and we look forward to seeing them seize this opportunity.”