100 entrepreneurs benefit from $1.2m in grants

Almost 100 Tobago entrepreneurs benefitted from $1.2 million in grants and small business loans from the Tobago House of Assembly.

Secretary of Finance and Enterprise Development, Dr. Anselm London said: "Tobago being a small island in a small nation in a small region of the world faces serious economic challenges." He told the audience that by Tobagonians using their talent, Tobago could be transformed. "What you're doing now is a contribution to economic growth in Tobago."

The Business Development Unit (BDU) of the Division of Finance and Enterprise Development held a forum at the Fairfield Complex where 96 local entrepreneurs received cheques totaling TTD $1.2 million. In May 2011, the THA launched the Enterprise Assistant Grant Programme, an initiative to assist the small enterprise sector in Tobago. To date, approval has been granted to 270 applicants, with over $4.8 million dollars disbursed.

Shelly Ann Baptiste, Manager at the Enterprise Assistance Unit (BDU) indicated that the unit was ironing out a system so that grant recipients would not have to wait months for disbursement, after they were approved. She cautioned the need for accountability on behalf of recipients. "We will be following up to ensure that you put the money to good use," she said.

Fellow grant recipient, Asha Mars of Perfect Weddings and Events, encouraged budding entrepreneurs to not listen to negative comments and to apply for the grant because it was available to everyone.

Dr. London said the grant was an engine of new economic growth. The Business Development Unit also has the Enterprise Assistance Fund for loans and has put together a Venture Capital Fund for larger investments.

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Asha Mars said on Friday, Mar 2 at 3:40 PM

Well done Business Development Unit, keep up the great work and Atlanta Gonian, I strongly agree with you, don't allow anyone's failure to determine your success. I lived in New York for nine years and returned to Tobago in 2008, one of the best decisions made, I'm now the founder and owner of a full service wedding and coordinating company, Perfect Weddings and Events. If your desire is to start a business in Tobago, go for it.

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D Mouse said on Friday, Mar 2 at 3:01 PM

@ Concerned: I agree with that assessment.

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Concerned said on Thursday, Mar 1 at 3:49 PM

People do not put anymore money into guess houses.There are too many. Tourism is failing and your money is going down the drain. The big problem home is Monkey see monkey.Have more trade schools, ( sewing, cooking, carpentry, welding, mechanics, plumbing,yes some of them are dirty jobs but they are the jobs that make the money and people always want someone to frpair or build or make something for them. Remember the old oeople are dying out , they need to be replaced

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atlanta gonian said on Thursday, Mar 1 at 12:06 PM

dont worry i have balls of brass,yes i am sure it's not easy to start and setup business in tobago ,but i have to try ,i have never let someone's failure determine my success.Thats why i am successful now ,not listening to the naysayers.

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the virginian said on Wednesday, Feb 29 at 1:11 PM

Atlanta Gonian,referencing your 10:23 PM piece yesterday.Be darn sure that's what you want to do and have the fire in your belly for it.A very close friend tried repatriation several years ago then realized after that it was simply a case of nostalgia--a costly undertaking.My buddy lasted less than a year and the rest is history.By the same token,I know of others who have succeeded.Just be sure.That's all and good luck. I was in your neck of the woods for an extended weekend last summer and had a great time.

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atlanta gonian said on Tuesday, Feb 28 at 6:23 PM

Great,i love this,this is what tobago needs. I am coming back home to set up some business that will make use of tobago's talent and natural resource for export. Yes a business incubator should be set up, but this is good,hats off for T.H.A. I fully agree that tobagonians start to ramp up their entrepeneural spirit.When in the 70's and the 80's when Trinidad did not care about us we had "Lend Hand Societies" where we would help each other build houses,set up foundations and so on.We use to sell lots of Copra(coconut oil),Cocoa,fruits and vegetables so much that Tobago was known as the breadbasket of the country. What happened?no factories then,only one was the JUCY factory near the license office which close down now.Strange that when Tobagonians go abroad they are often more successful than the Trinidadians: Time for foreign base tobagonians to be the new businesspeople.T.H.A,i need the telephone number for Enterprise Assistance unit!Need to pass it to other foreign base gonians .

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Adjacent said on Tuesday, Feb 28 at 2:23 PM

But wait, where is Long Mango. I would love to hear him bad talk this. I don't like the PNM but I won't waste my time cussing everything they do like Long Mango.

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RasBoyz said on Saturday, Feb 25 at 12:59 PM

the additional thing to put in place is a business incubator, such that recipients can increase their chance of success.At least get past the feasibility stage

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D Mouse said on Friday, Feb 24 at 3:59 PM

A better use of Government funds, Very Good !

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