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Over 60 Vincentians trained in grant proposal writing

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More businesses in St Vincent and the Grenadines have received training in how to properly construct and present business proposals when applying for grant funding from donor agencies.{{more}}

This comes as Invest SVG, the investment agency whose mandate it is to boost our local export product, recently facilitated two proposal writing workshops. The sessions saw participants being introduced to the concept of grant funding, the processes and guidelines, the proper construction of applications, and how to increase one’s odds of getting approved for such funding.

The first of the workshops saw the involvement of 50 registered participants and was conducted by Kirk Brown, senior grant advisor of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA). This agency, established in 1996, serves 15 CARIFORUM member states, and is the only regional trade and investment promotions agency in the African, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) group. Each year CEDA announces two calls for businesses across the region to submit proposals seeking funding for the advancement of their businesses through its reimbursable Direct Assistance Grant Scheme.

Brown, in his delivery, explained the “Accelerated Procedures”, of which small grants of 5,000 Euros can be rewarded for business development and the “Regular Procedures”, of which businesses are reimbursed up to 70 per cent of their project cost, once not exceeding 30,000 euros. In his presentation, Brown commented that St Vincent and the Grenadines is not a recipient of large funding from the CEDA, as the number of applicants from the country tends to be low, as well as businesses are not well versed in how to write a successful grant proposal.

In 2012, only two local businesses were awarded grant funding through CEDA’s Direct Assistance Regular Procedures call. He stressed the importance of incorporating the services of Invest SVG when applying for grant funding, since the agency is equipped with the resources that allow for it to aid businesses in the preparation and execution of project proposals. Businesses were also urged to utilise Invest SVG as a medium when submitting proposals to the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA).

Invest SVG also held a much smaller workshop which addressed grant proposal writing, specifically for community based tourism projects. The session, delivered by Invest SVG’s Research & Information Development manager Curtis Dennie, had participation from various local Heritage and Tourism organisations. During the session, it was admitted by some participants that they were indeed unaware of some of the funding agencies that exist that have the ability to fund projects within their line of work.

Export Development Manager of Invest SVG, Shanna Browne, noted that the onus still remains with local businesses to take advantage of opportunities such as these workshops and grant funding in general. She explained that while Invest SVG is mandated to boost export development, Vincentian entrepreneurs must continuously seek information on funding agencies and explore the possibility of grants working for their individual business. She also took the time to reiterate the importance of the agency’s business registration service, which is of no cost to the business owner and it allows businesses to create a business profile with the agency, through which they can be informed of and invited to participate in activities organised or facilitated by Invest SVG.

Over the past two years Invest SVG has assisted businesses here in obtaining over 100,000 euros worth of grant funding.

Businesses wishing to contact Invest SVG about grant funding and other business support initiatives should call 784-457-2159, or email [email protected]