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Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Karl Samuda has appealed to banks to assist fledgling entrepreneurs with easier access to loans, as persons without capital can start businesses that develop into multi-million dollar enterprises.
“One of the things that the banks need to consider, is that someone without collateral, can start a small modest business and move on to be a multi-million dollar business, but it takes the commitment and confidence in those persons, to give them that initial start, and I am not happy that that process is one that is attended to enough, by the banking community,” Mr. Samuda said.
The Minister was addressing a Speaker’s Forum at the Technology Innovation Centre, at the University of Technology (UTech), yesterday (March 19).
He also took issue with the level of charges by banks, and the impact that these could have on small and emerging businesses.
While acknowledging that some of these fees did serve their purpose, he expressed concern over the differential between various banks and fees. “When one looks at all these charges, you can have an appreciation of the impact that these can have on a small entrepreneur and a business that is emerging,” he argued.
Mr. Samuda lamented the painstaking bureaucracy that was involved with accessing financing from financial institutions. He noted that entrepreneurs had to place themselves in debt to have all the requested documents prepared, in order to access loans.
“To open a current account in any bank is a virtual nightmare; it takes a qualified accountant to be able to do that. A small entrepreneur with a great idea or a great product, starting a business, first of all has to put himself or herself in debt without collateral, to be able to prepare the documents needed, to even apply for a loan,” Mr. Samuda told the audience.