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Apr 25, 2018

BELTRAIDE Promotes Caribbean Export Program to Businesses

Between 2011 and 2016, some five point eight million Euros were given out to two hundred and eighty-two companies in the region through a programme called the Direct Assistance Grant. It is an initiative executed by Caribbean Export that provides capital for businesses that are either exporting or building capacity to export. In the last tranche of grants, Belize had ten applicants and six of them were granted capital to expand and improve their products and services. Today, Caribbean Export is back in Belize, in partnership with BELTRAIDE, to promote this program among Belizean businesses. They hosted a workshop to sensitize entrepreneurs about what they need to do to tap into the available capital of the Direct Assistance Grant program. According to Caribbean Export, businesses must be legally registered in Belize, provide two-year financial statements and be getting their businesses ready for export. Chris McNair and Shahera McKoy explain how local businesses can get involved.

 

Chris McNair

Chris McNair, Manager, Caribbean Export Development Agency

“It is the only program at Caribbean Export’s disposal where we have direct funding to firms, where we give direct capital in to companies. As we know, access to finance is a problem for countries across the region. It is a reimbursable program, so companies actually spend and then Caribbean Export reimburses them, seventy percent up to fifty thousand Euros. So, in essence, companies can get from ten thousand Euros up to fifty thousand Euros as part of this program. The program is geared towards companies who are exporting or looking to build their capacity to export.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What’s the process to access the grant?”

 

Chris McNair

“There is an application stage. It opened yesterday, twenty-third of April. There is six weeks to do that. The deadline is June fourth at 4:30 p.m. Barbados time and persons have to submit an application. After that, we begin an evaluation process and then firms are scored and selected. Those companies that are successful are informed by Caribbean Export and given six months to implement the project that has been approved as part of their application.”

 

Shahera McKoy

Shahera McKoy, Manager, Export Belize [BELTRAIDE]

“What this grant program does, is give them the opportunity to access finances from maybe not such a traditional source but to be able to do the improvements that they want to be able to expand in export markets. I know from some of the previous recipients of Belize, they were able to significantly upgrade equipment, increase their production capacity, increase the quality of the products they produce. So, it is very important for companies to be able to have the funds to do that.  Once companies start to complete their application, we provide guidance on what are legible cost, illegible cost, we provide them input on what should be included in the application, giving them information on due date and other things like that, so we can present solid applications coming out of Belize. So, the role of BELTRAIDE is to actually assist the private sector in completion of their application and ensure that they are solid.  We have people from agriculture and agro-business sector. We also have service sector. We have shared information with some of the support business organizations, for example, the Chamber. Today we have the Belize Coalition of Service Providers, so these organizations will also go back to their membership and provide the information they have garnered today.”

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