By Deidre Brathwaite
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — As Caribbean firms continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), with the continued generous support of the European Union, are once again providing critical assistance by making available the second round of direct support grant funding for micro, medium and small enterprises (MSMEs).
Commencing [today], firms in 15 Caribbean countries (CARIFORUM) can apply for a non-reimbursable grant of up to €30,000 from a total available grant facility of €3,000,000. The funds are made available under the Direct Support Grants Programme, and these cash infusions are available to fund special projects that can help speed up growth and fast track recovery from the negative effects of the pandemic
“MSMEs form the backbone of many of our economies generating precious jobs and opportunities for our people. Caribbean Export must continue to focus our efforts on fast-tracking their recovery as businesses seek to diversify and innovate in the face of the ever-evolving pandemic.” remarked executive director, Deodat Maharaj.
“Supporting the development of a resilient, competitive private sector will lead to the economic growth and development of our Region consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals, and we are always delighted to have the generous support of the European Union, in these initiatives,” Maharaj further stated.
Firms who have previously never received grant funding from the Agency will be eligible to apply, and the programme will support projects in the following areas:
- Resource Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Digitalisation of Business
- Marketing & Promotions
- Building Resilience
- Purchase & Upgrade of Capital Goods (capped at a maximum of 50 percent of budget)
- Capacity Building
- Protection of Intellectual Property Rights
In addition, Caribbean Export is encouraging women and youth-owned businesses to apply. Youth is defined as persons under 35 years of age.
Developed in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Direct Support Grants Programme (DSGP) addressed the need for CARIFORUM firms to access finance when cash flow was significantly restricted.
Under the first round of DSGP funding, 63 firms in the CARIFORUM region were awarded grants from sectors, including agro-processing (22), manufacturing (18), tourism (6), creative industries (4), professional services (5), agriculture (3), Information and Communications Technology (ICT) (3), and health and wellness (2).
Caribbean Export will be accepting official applications for the current allocation until December 5, 2021. Firms can visit https://www.carib-export.com/dsgp2021/ for more information about the Direct Support Grants Programme.