The Answer To Small Entrepreneurs Money Problems

A basket of financial/borrowing options now available to St. Lucian Entrepreneurs
The National Development Corporation hosted a successful 'forum on equity and nontraditional business financing' on Wednesday, July 24, 2002 at the Rex St. Lucian Hotel.
The management should be pleased with the result of the programme which brought together entrepreneurs in the trading and manufacturing sectors. Small business persons turned out in full strength as they seek to find more accommodating sources of funding.
There were financial institutions offering from EC one thousand dollars (EC$1,000.00) to those whose staring figure is US five million dollars (US$5,000,000.00).
The Bank of St. Lucia was not to be left out, they made a good account of themselves and took the opportunity to showcase their services. Mr. Jean Francois Sonson was a good a salesman as any and injected into the audience serious interest in his Bank's productive sector equity fund which has a ceiling of EC seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars (EC$750,000.00). This fund was launched last Wednesday.
It is my hope that this fund will be within the grasp of serious entrepreneurs and supportive of new ideas. New ideas have high risks but very rewarding returns for both parties.
On the other hand Microfin which is scheduled to open its doors to business within days on Mongiraud Street, Castries is the Bank to watch.
There has been a lot of talk about competitiveness within the private sector especially in the manufacturing sector, now it is the bankers turn to be competitive.
Microfin comes to St. Lucia with a lot of experience in lending to micro and small business persons. They will be accepting loan applications from EC$1,000.00 to EC$100,000.00 and has the ability to stay in the game to US$2,500,000.00 through their parent company D.F.L. based in Trinidad.
The horses are off and the jockeys are the small business persons who now have choices.
The NDC was very mindful in presenting not only sources of financing but also technical assistance providers. Export Development Agency and OECS Export Development Unit were on hand to promote their programmes where assistance is being offered to companies seeking to export.
I must admit that this was an exercise that produced results with two organizations opening up new products to Micro, Small and Medium businesses.
For the large companies, it is a little more difficult, they will have to do much more work and from all appearances will have to come up with up front money at least for Due Diligence to confirm their character and credit worthiness.
The big money group included Lambard Group, Development Finance Ltd., Global Business Advisors, Caribbean Financial Agencies, Fincor (Republic Bank).
Please contact the organisers for further details and move to the table. The NDC has taken us to the pond, they cannot make us drink. Let us move forward - let's roll!
The Bank of St. Lucia will prepare your business plan for a small fee. Soon other banks will offer this service. I believe payment should be a percentage of the approved loan. No loan, no payment.
All that will be necessary is that the clients be properly screened and only be accepted if the project has potentials to be financed based on the bank's policy.
Don't hesitate to reach for your share, put your hands in the basket. What is most important is that Banking will shortly be more humane due to intense competition and the small man will now begin to benefit.
Congrats to the New NDC, your efforts and achievements are noted.
Friday 2 August 2002