With Carnival just over three weeks away, Deputy Police Commissioner Deodat Dulalchan, Gold Commander for the festival, has expressed concern at the country’s “troubling” murder toll.
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Scotiabank launches SME fund
Scotiabank T&T has established a multi-million dollar fund to help with financing and nurturing growth for small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). Managing director Anya Schnoor made the announcement yesterday at the launch of Scotiabank’s Business Banking Week held at the bank’s hospitality suite at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain. “I am pleased to announce the establishment of the SME Capital Equipment Fund. We have allocated $150 million to the fund which will be available to help businesses finance their capital equipment needs, allowing them to re-tool and expand to meet their future needs. I am certain this fund will be of tremendous help to local SMEs and I hope many of them take advantage of Scotiabank’s unique offering.”
Schnoor added: “SMEs contribute greatly to economies all around the world. Almost all businesses are small businesses, or even started out as a small business. Every great idea and business starts small. But it is these small start-ups and the people they employ that create the greatest of opportunities for the growth and the development of our economies. Those companies that survive over time provide financial stability for owners, employees and their families, promoting self-sufficiency and independence.” Schnoor said Scotiabank recognised the unique needs of small business owners and was providing expert advice, information and services critical to getting a small business started or growing. She said establishment of the fund bolsters the already wide range of financial services the bank offers, not only through loans, but overdraft protection and small business credit cards.
Schnoor said all types of SMEs help to strengthen local economies by bringing growth and innovation to the communities in which they operate. In small island states such as those in the Caribbean, she said, SMEs have become even more critical as they stimulate unique ideas and employment which diversify the economic base of the country. “In the new global marketplace, goods and services made locally can now be sold globally through various on-line platforms. No longer are SMEs limited by geography. The world as they say is now your oyster thereby creating new opportunities for growth which were not available up to a decade ago. “SMEs tend to attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing ideas. Even larger businesses also often benefit from SMEs within the same local community, as they depend on small businesses for the completion of various business functions through outsourcing,” she said.
“In T&T, SMEs have always played a vital role in our economy. Statistics show that, at the end of 2011, the 20,000-odd SMEs contributed close to 30 per cent of GDP and employed over 200,000 persons. They provide a range of goods and services from the traditional corner shop, farmers, service providers in the IT industry, to the micro level where we have traditional cottage industries like the doubles and fruit vendors. “ It is estimated that within middle income countries SMEs contribute over 90 per cent of employment and 70 per cent of GDP,” she said.