The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has awarded some €303,000 in financial assistance to seventeen (17) successful grant applications via the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) in Saint Lucia. Additionally a further three firms were awarded just over €29,000 in funding via a special call for proposals for food safety all , as part of the Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP) funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
The Barbados based team from Caribbean Export will spend February 18 and 19, 2015 delivering procurement and reimbursement training to the successful grant awardees that largely represent the manufacturing, professional services, agro-processing, ICT and health and wellness industries of Saint Lucia.
Inadequate access to finance is commonly cited as one of the major challenges affecting a firms’ ability to export and thus this directly affects its ability to be a driver of economic growth. Executive Director, Pamela Coke-Hamilton stressed “I am of the opinion that we have more to do in creating additional financing alternatives for firms beyond the traditional commercial banks”. Coke-Hamilton went on to disclose that the Agency has embarked on a collaborative initiative with InfoDev and the World Bank to create an Angel Investor Network to expand the current funding solutions available to SMEs.
To date, Caribbean Export has awarded 479 SMEs and BSOs across the region via direct assistance grants totalling €8,474,212.07. These figures represent the Call for Proposals (CFPs) during the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (CTPSDP: 2008-2010), and the 10th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP: 2011-2014).
The DAGS is a reimbursement grant funding facility specifically designed to provide financial assistance to legally registered small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), individuals, and business support organisations (BSOs) with the potential to export their products and services.