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Jan 31, 2022

Small and Medium Tourism Businesses Encouraged to Apply for Matching Grants

The Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations has launched its Matching Grants Program for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. The program is being financed through a fifteen million U.S. dollar loan under the Sustainable Tourism Project Two launched back in March of 2016. News Five’s Paul Lopez was at the Biltmore this morning where the program was launched. He found out what you need to do if you are in tourism and looking for funds. 


Paul Lopez, Reporting


Ramiro Lopez Ghio

Ramiro Lopez Ghio, Country Representative, I.D.B.

“The pandemic hit the economy to a great extent, to the whole sector, but in particular to tourism. 2020 was a very bad year in terms of economic and social indicators. We have two digit unemployment and the poverty rate increased lots. This matching program that we are financing and providing technical assistance, we are trying to revert this condition of the economy.”


To qualify, your business must first fall under two of the four BELTRADE criteria for small business or medium enterprises.


Josue Carballo

Josue Carballo, Director of Industry Development, B.T.B.

“That is the first eligibility. Secondly, you must be ready at hand with a project proposal, which means you must have project that can spell out the total cost, and out of that cost the matching grant will finance sixty percent of the total of that project. The remaining forty percent, forty percent of that forty percent, sixteen percent will be in cash contribution. So, you must be able to contribute as part of your project. The remainder of the matching is in kind contribution which will include technical assistance, equipment, labor, the different ways in which you can match it.”


According to Director of Tourism at the B.T.B., applications are available on the B.T.B. website and must be submitted by February twenty-first.


Evan Tillett

Evan Tillett, Director of Tourism, B.T.B.

“The grant will aid in job creation and with its development objectives and improvements in such areas as bio protocols, the environment, skills development, technology, market intelligence, economies of scale, will undoubtedly increase the marketing edge of small and medium enterprises. We therefore encourage all small and medium enterprises to pursue this opportunity.”


In 2021, the Ministry of Tourism provided six hundred and fifty thousand dollars in relief to the tourism sector. These funds were issued to over four hundred micro and small enterprises. That program came to an end in December, but it revealed the need for further financing opportunities.


Anthony Mahler

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations

“The unfortunate reality is that we received more applications than we had available to disburse. This is a clear indication that the M.S.M.E. sector continues to have a high demand for support programs like this one, as it continues to find its footing after major market failures and bring itself back to a point of economic relevance. But, economic relevance in my mind is not enough. I maintain that if we seek only to recover what we have lost during the pandemic we would not have embraced the opportunity for improvement, growth and innovation that this economic shock has provided.”


The Ministry of Tourism intends to execute the approved projects within the next four months with the goal of assisting at least one hundred businesses.


Josue Carballo, Director of Industry Development, B.T.B.

“It is very important for you to be ready with the project proposal in hand, because these projects will need to be executed within the next four months going forward. It is an immediate grant that is available. And when Director mentioned the deadline for submission, this is the first phase. The eligibility for criteria process is you apply to be vetted to be assisted by the full team we have onboard at the B.T.B. They will go over your process. Ii you need to call, we have a WhatsApp number available on your website. You can get a one-on-one assistance. The idea is to be able to assist; the target is to assist around a one hundred M.S.M.E.’s with grants ranging from eighteen thousand up to sixty thousand for single based enterprises, and as much as a hundred thousand Belize when it comes to different enterprises with cooperatives working together.”


Reporting for News  Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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