Local businesses stand to benefit from CEDA grant
FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES that plan to begin exporting, or wish to improve their export potential, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) is poised to help.
The Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) is the helping hand of the Agency, and through funding by the European Union under the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme, is willing to offer to small and medium sized businesses who need finances.
A workshop, held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs conference room, outlining the initiative, was held last week Friday to explain how business owners can start applying to receive up to 70 per cent reimbursement on projects.
Nadine Agard-Juillerat, Deputy Executive Director, Invest SVG, spoke to the thinking behind the grants. “One of the primary reasons for a lack of growth within the private sector is always cited as the lack of access to finance. Caribbean Export Development Agency is actively making a concerted effort to register a difference in this area,” Agard-Juillerat stated.
Invest SVG, this country’s investment promotion agency, may be contacted for additional information on DAGS.
The Director of Trade at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce, Okolo John-Patrick outlined the project to those at the workshop.
She spoke of a similar scheme that took place previously, wherein, “St Vincent and the Grenadines was awarded a total of 10 grant contracts, at an approximate value of 216,000 Euros – an indicator that the Vincentian business community recognizes the importance and the benefit to be derived from such a scheme.”
This time, “We are anticipating that under the 11th EDF, the grant contract will increase and more Vincentian businesses will be able to develop from the grant scheme,” she stated.
John-Patrick informed that it will be a reimbursable grant scheme, and that the project must first be fully financed by the applicant via their own resources or from other funding sources. A maximum of 70 per cent of the funding, capped at 50,000, will be reimbursable through the grant scheme, with the minimum being 10,000.
“DAGS has typically been used by companies to modernize equipment, upgrade facilities to international food and quality standards, enhance products and packages, implement alternative energy systems, train staff, develop promotional material, market and promote products and services for export,” the Director of Trade informed, although the scheme is not limited to these options.
Angenella Young, Investment Services and Aftercare Facilitator at Invest SVG and Country Advisor for DAGS, gave further details.
Criteria for businesses that wish to apply for the grant, she divulged, are that they must be legally registered and have financial statements to prove that they have been in operation for two years. Businesses must be able to finance projects 100 per cent at the beginning, and they must be exporting or can demonstrate their potential to export.“Beneficiaries will have six months from the date of the grant contract to execute the project.
That means that once you have been chosen as one of the beneficiaries, Caribbean Export sends you the contract, you sign the contract. If you receive the contract on the first, you sign it on the second, the contract starts on the third,” she stated.The application period began yesterday and will end on June 1.
All details such as that two hardcopies of the application are to be submitted, are further available on the Caribbean Export Development Agency website.Invest SVG also announced that, in collaboration with Caribbean Export, they have chosen three firms as part of their HiExport program, or High Export Potential Program, to mentor.
Over two years, with the single aim of making them “entrepreneurial success stories,” InvestSVG will mentor Jerry Simpson, Crystal Oliver and Anthony George, owners of the businesses “Grenadine Wild Sea Salt”, “Olive Art Design” and “Link Up.”SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS: (from left): to the InvestSVG HiExpo Program Anthony George and Kenna