Loan fund trying to ease small business investors

Business development manager at the Barbados Trust Loan Fund Kirk Dottin speaking to an agri-business cluster about the fund’s ACE programme. (Picture by Reco Moore.)

The Barbados Trust Loan Fund (BTLF) rolled out a new initiative which aims to help small business people better manage their entrepreneurial investments.

Speaking to The NATION during training workshops held at Bagnall’s Point Gallery, Pelican Craft Centre, St Michael last Saturday, BTLF’s business development manager Kirk Dottin revealed the department disbursed over $16 million to 3 600 people and more than 4 500 jobs were created from the disbursal, with more than 900 people still awaiting loans.

He added that in addition to distributing start-up loans the fund was now doing more to make sure small businesses stayed on top of their game through the ACE (Advanced Client Enhancement) programme.

“One of the things we realised is that we needed to do a better job at evaluating the enterprises in order to offer assistance,” said programme manager Byron Gibson.

“The programme is focused on having one-on-one discussions with business people, evaluating where their businesses are at, especially coming out of COVID, refinancing the businesses and lowering their monthly payments and extending the payment period to take financial pressure off of them.

“And along with that the programme analyses your business for the past 18 or 24 months, and says here is where you lack as a manager and shows you where you may need help with accounting or marketing; so it’s aimed at strengthening your management capacity.”

Gibson said the fund was also partnering with other lending institutions so small business people could gain additional resources outside the fund.

He added that businesses were also being placed in clusters so their products and services could be pooled to provide them on a large scale to meet demands of big markets.

Two workshops took place at the centre. The one based on agri-business training comprised 25 participants, while the other, which focused on wine and beverage, comprised 12 participants, who had sessions with internationally renowned specialists in the field via Zoom. (SB)



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