MSME Loan-Grant Facility Project Extended to April 2

Amid plans to expand the Medium and Small Micro Enterprise (MSME) project, Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte has reported favourable success for the programme that aims to aid budding entrepreneurs and bolster the economy.

She said that the key elements in the MSMEs project is to provide quality service and commodities and also, to embrace the critical aspect of digitization.
The MSME Loan-Grant Facility bridges the financial gap to give small and medium-sized businesses in Saint Lucia the opportunity to flourish. The facility gives approved MSMEs the capital injection needed to maximize their potential.

Due to the initial success, the minister disclosed that the second call for the MSME Loan Grant Facility is April, 2.
“What we are encouraging the public to do is ensure that you have your plans together …and ensure that you get the requirements and get papers and documents ready,” Minister Hippolyte explained.

She said persons can call in, or come to the ministry and deposit their packages and applications.

The minister said, at the initial invitation there were a total of 500 applicants, with 260 being women. Almost a 50-50 split between male and female applicants.

Ms Hippolyte said that the ministry is working closely with the SLDB, so that all areas are covered.

Emma Hippolyte
Commerce Minister Emma Hippolyte

“There were some delays (particularly) with the disbursements,” she said. “Especially, when it had to do with purchasing items on the internet …and on some days, different costs and prices, so that provided some challenges and we are trying to work that out.”

Hippolyte urges persons between the ages of 31 and 60 to prepare and apply.

The MSME Loan-Grant Facility is highlighted through the tagline: Changing Lives, and most notably that small businesses contribute to sustainable development and economic growth.

In the initial stages, more than 175 Saint Lucian-owned small and medium-sized businesses secured approval from the MSME Loan-Grant Facility to enhance their operations for improved profitability.

According to the United Nations (UN), “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are widely recognized for the important contributions they make to sustainable development, in terms of contributions to economic growth, creation of decent jobs, provision of public goods and services, as well as poverty alleviation and reduced inequality.
“They comprise a major share of total private sector entities in both developed and developing countries.”

The UN document adds: “The contribution of MSMEs to broader social economic objectives, including job creation makes them a key priority area for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Job creation through MSMEs will often directly benefit the poor and vulnerable, particularly women and youth, thereby directly reducing poverty, increasing income and positively impacting on household investments in education and health over time.”

Meanwhile, Minister Hippolyte led a delegation of public and private sector representatives from Saint Lucia to the VIII Inter-American Dialogue of High-Level MSME Authorities and Conference on Expanding International Market Opportunities for MSMEs, which was held in Washington DC on March 13 and 14.

The minister participated in a panel discussion addressing the challenges faced by women-owned enterprises, emphasizing the pressing need to provide them with access to finance.

Over the two days, participants engaged in networking and discussions relating to financing, digital transformation, technical support and other opportunities aimed at enhancing the MSME and broader business ecosystem in the Americas and the Caribbean.

The conference highlighted the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) model as a catalyst for growth and trade exports in the region, alongside considerations such as business incubation and digitalization.

According to a ministry spokesperson, the conference underscores “the Ministry of Commerce’s ongoing commitment to fostering private sector development in Saint Lucia.”

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