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Feb 10, 2023

BELTRAIDE Introduces Two Training Incubators for M.S.M.Es

Today the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service, BELTRAIDE, introduced two training incubators – one a fixed office unit at its Belize City outlet on Coney Drive and a mobile one that will be used to reach Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise owners in remote areas of Belize. It was a collaborative effort; the Taiwanese Embassy financed the retrofitting of the van for the mobile unit and the office space, BELTRAIDE will provide the training, and the Government will create the opportunities. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, Reporting

The symbolic cutting of the ribbon today marked the start of a project that BELTRAIDE will provide for people who live in the far reaches of the country and want to learn more about how to take their micro, small, and medium businesses to the next level.


Leroy Almendarez

Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director, BELTRAIDE

“Too often we hear that M.S.M.Es have so many challenges and having to move from one place to another with in order to access services, especially with costs, so this is just an additional tool that BELTRAIDE as a part of the whole work of the government has put in place. We figured if we put in these incubators that micro, small, especially the micros, they can come in. There’s a place where they can go to work, to think, to engage others. So you’ll find out that others will come in. Right now we’ll start with eight, and you can learn so much more about what others are doing. You can do your research, the advising is right here at our small business development centre and of course there’s no cost to it.”


BELTRAIDE’s Executive Director, Dr. Leroy Almendarez, told News Five that eight women applied to this first training phase, and digital training will be a critical part of it.


Dr. Leroy Almendarez

“Look at what the pandemic did. Yes, there was a threat, but it also created its own opportunities because we found new businesses on the market. You need to set up a business plan and so all of this, and like I said, there’s a virtual knowledge centre and this is where you find other enterprises are registered, etcetera. People will know what you’re selling or what services or product you’re offering. They will know and you will know. So it creates a while digital community. Our intention here is to watch it grow and then we’ll see what additional resources may be needed in terms of additional computers and things like that.”


Since micro, small, and medium businesses make up the majority of businesses in Belize, the project is a part of the Government’s effort to assist these enterprises to thrive, according to C.E.O in the Ministry of Finance, Narda Garcia.


Narda Garcia

Narda Garcia, C.E.O., Office of the P.M., Ministry of Finance

“This incubator is just one part of our strategic focus for economic development, job creation, and small business empowerment and will be complemented by the tele-centres that we will be launching across the country very soon. As evidenced, M.S.M.Es are the engine for Belize’s economic growth and development, and therefore, many parameters, including legal policy and procedures are being put in place. Incubators are seen as important conduits for business innovation. Our incubator, the I.Q., targets groups who want to grow their business or develop new ideas that they can market.”


Artist Briheda Haylock and Ava Palacio are two of the eight women who applied to be a part of this first cohort of trainees.


Ava Palacio

Ava Palacio, Owner, Lasting Memories Designs

“We customize and do printing, so we customize t-shirts, mugs, cups, mouse pads, so we customize almost anything you want to be memorable, we customize them for you. I would like to learn how to properly manage my business.”


Marion Ali

“So where do you want to take it from here?”


Ava Palacio

“Well, my dream is to have a branch of my business in each district and also to start export so I have a lot of big dreams. They are providing mentors and advisors, I just need that guidance to go ahead.”


Briheda Haylock

Briheda Haylock, Owner, Briheda Haylock Visions 

“I consider myself an art activist actually, so it’s to develop my vision of advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves, to bring more awareness in society on how we can grow and develop as a community. So I’m really pushing my art in the sense of education. I’m brilliant as an artist but as a businesswoman I need a little fine-tuning.”


BELTRAIDE Executive Director Dr. Almendarez says there are also opportunities for these entrepreneurs to apply for low-interest loans through this avenue. Marion Ali for News Five.

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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