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MSMEs in St. Paul’s boosted by Development Bank and NEDD’s collaboration

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At a community business meeting held on the evening of Thursday March 30 at the St. Paul's Community Centre, the National Entrepreneurial Development Division (NEDD), met a handful of interested persons in its quest to help further develop the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise sector (MSMEs).

 NEDD, which is the Business Support Unit of the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs has been in this business long enough to know that through collaboration they could achieve much more in their bid to improve the economic status of the country and its people.

That being the case, the Business Support Unit of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN), and two representatives from the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board, were invited to the St. Paul's community business meeting which formed part of NEDD's strategy to foster the development of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise sector.

 

"It was the first such meeting for 2017," said Mr Phillip Browne, Director of Industry and Commerce. "It is an information sharing session for potential entrepreneurs, existing entrepreneurs, and persons with small businesses.

"What we are attempting to do is to make sure that persons are aware that there is support out there, they can go about operating their businesses in a manner that would lead to success."

Coming from the Business Support Unit of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was Mrs Kimmoy O'Loughlin-Burroughs, the unit's Assistant Manager. She was in the company of Mr Lockhart Alleyne who is the Development Bank's Business Support Technical Officer, and Ms Jasmin Primus, the Business Support Officer. 

 We were there to inform persons in the community of St. Paul's interested in starting a business the procedure that they have to go through in order to apply for a business loan," explained Mrs O'Loughlin-Burroughs.

 That included all the necessary information/documents that they would need to have with them at the loan proposal stage, but most importantly I explained to them that they would need to have a business proposal. That is the most important document needed to apply for this loan, and I went on into further details to explain to them what we would expect to see or hear coming from the proposal."

The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis official explained to them that the bank is currently in the process of disbursing loans under the Fresh Start Programme, where she mentioned to them that the maximum loan available under that programmes for business persons is EC$270,000 at five per cent interest for a maximum of seven years.

 They were also informed that if their business would require more than $270,000 they can still apply but they will be funded under DBSKN funds," said Mrs O'Loughlin-Burroughs. "Therefore if what one needs is more than the $270,000 we can give them the maximum under Fresh Start, then they will get the balance under the DBSKN funds at 11% so it will be two separate loans."

 She further advised them that if one did not have a business proposal, they could still come to the Business Support Unit of the Development Bank and once they share their idea the bank officials would ask them the necessary questions about their idea/business they will need in order to put the proposal together.

We will create the proposal once we understand clearly from the client what exactly they want to do, then we could put something together on paper, call them back in, go through it with them, let them read it so that they know exactly what is in the proposal and understand fully what the business is about," she explained. "It is after which we make the appointment with the loan officer for them." 

 The Development Bank official further explained that once a loan has been given, they make field visits every two months to make sure the clients' businesses are operational and if they have any problems they can be given technical assistance. The Development Bank also has its Business Consultants who are assigned to clients who would need deeper technical assistance.

 Earlier at the St. Paul's meeting Mr Phillip Browne had told the participants that once NEDD gives technical assistance to their business clients, they do not just send them to any bank but to a bank that would offer them loans which are repayable on a reducing balance basis. 

"Whenever you have an opportunity to get a loan on reducing balance take it because what it does it allows you to pay interest on your balance as the loan goes down," advised Mr Browne. "Most of the packages offered by the Development Bank are, just like the Fresh Start Programme, where I am told that that the interest rate is 5% and I am told that it is on a reducing balance."

The St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board was represented by Mr Elvin Bailey an Assistant Director and Ms Kamilah Lawrence the Acting Public Relations Manager. They informed the businesspersons of the benefits Social Security's Self Employed contributions.

Master of Ceremony was Mr Delwayne Delaney, NEDD's Project Officer; prayer was offered by Ms Vanessa Maynard, Junior Clerk at NEDD; while the vote of thanks was given by Ms Desiree Powell, Project Officer with NEDD.



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