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Six local businesses attend CEDA grant procurement workshop

Six local businesses attend CEDA grant  procurement workshop

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The six local entities that were promised reimbursement grants from the Caribbean Export Development Agency’s (CEDA) Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) have been schooled on the procedure that must be undertaken for them to be refunded their money.{{more}}

On Wednesday, February 11, grant advisor for CEDA Celestine Moore facilitated a procurement and reimbursement procedure workshop at the conference room of Invest SVG.

Moore said that the workshop was held as some of the entities that secured the reimbursement grant were having problems with the paperwork and as a result stand a chance of not being reimbursed the funds spent on improving their businesses.

The entities that secured the grant locally are Everdale Farms, Cobblestone Inn, Pasta Enterprises Ltd, Vincy Fresh, Invest SVG and Irvin Interior and Construction Inc.

During the workshop, Moore went through the procurement procedures which the entities are expected to follow in order to be reimbursed the 70 per cent of their total expenditure from their projects secured under the DAGS.

Moore said that the beneficiaries applied to DAGS in January 2014 under the maximum reimbursement 30,000 Euros grant.

She said that all countries based within Cariforum could have applied for the grant but must have been able to finance the project 100 per cent, “because it is a reimbursement facility so we would not advance the money; you have to spend the money first.”

She said that CEDA received over 341 applications within Cariforum, but the funding envelope ended at the 140th applicant. She added also that after the applications were sent, they were evaluated by two evaluators, one within CEDA and one from the European Union (EU). The funding for the grant comes from the EU.

She said that any business that has the potential to export goods and services or they are already exporting and need to expand could have applied.

“The applications must show that you shopped around and got the most competitive price. The grants allowed persons to procure goods and services from the region, EU member states and ACP member states, which is about 106 countries,” said Moore, who added that some applicants did not read the entire contract.

She said that this particular programme has been running for some time and was funded by the 10th EDF, which is closing. She said that the programme will start back under the 11th EDF in 2016.

One of the grant recipients, executive director of Pasta Enterprises Limited Andrew Woodroffe said that he installed a photovoltaic system at his factory and commissioned it on Thursday, February 5.

“The system will help reduce our electricity expenses by 30 to 35 per cent, which will help us ensure our product is priced competitively,” said Woodroffe.

He added, “We have this unlimited infinite source of power called the sun and we don’t make use of it. I hope other people think about using solar.”

In relation to DAGS, Woodroffe commented, “there is too much paper-work, but we (Pasta Enterprises Limited) are fortunate, because we didn’t have to go to the bank to borrow money, but for those who have to borrow, it is a risk, because if you don’t do the documentation correctly, you lose out, so that aspect needs to be revisited.”

Executive director at Invest SVG Bernadette Ambrose-Black said that her organization has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with CEDA, having been awarded a few CEDA grants.

“We seized the opportunity when asked to partner with them, because we are the key agency for the link between beneficiaries and CEDA. Most of the beneficiaries have to come to Invest SVG for assistance with the proposal for application for grant funding,” revealed Ambrose-Black.

Invest SVG received funding from CEDA for their Rural Women Empowerment Project and is currently in the execution phase of that project, working along with the Ministry of Agriculture.

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