JIS News

The Self Start Fund and the University of Technology (UTech) have agreed to enter into a one-year partnership project, to facilitate 20 business students from the tertiary institution being trained as business development officers.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), will be signed soon by both organisations to cement the agreement.
Minister of Industry and Tourism, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba made the disclosure during her contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (May 24).
Mrs. Assamba pointed out that under the Entrepreneurial Linkage Project, the 20 UTech business students would be mobilised in a one-year pilot project, which would see each of them working alongside 10 entrepreneurs from their respective communities. The 200 entrepreneurs would have projects valued between $12 million and $15 million.
In the long term, it is envisioned that students in tertiary institutions would be trained as business development officers, who would scout entrepreneurial projects in their communities. These officers, the Minister said, “will develop business plans, support entrepreneurs in proposing the project to Self Start Fund for financing, assist in the implementation and on-going development of the project, and monitor loan repayments”.
For their involvement, the students will be rewarded with points toward graduation, gain valuable experience and earn an income of up to $250,000 per annum.
Minister Assamba said on the heels of the pilot project, it is anticipated that within five years, 1,000 development officers would be operational across the island with 20,000 entrepreneurs, and over $2 billion being made accessible in loans.
The objectives of the project include, creating sustainable entrepreneurial development, rebuilding communities through improved economic independence, reducing crime and restoring harmony.
The Self Start Fund was established in 1983 to provide specialised credit to entrepreneurs within the small and micro enterprise sector, who are unable to access credit elsewhere because of their inability to provide collateral to access funds for their enterprises.

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