The second round of grants to small businesses participating in the Emprende project co-sponsored by BELTRAIDE, the Center for the Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises (CENPROMYPE), and the Republic of China (Taiwan), concluded on Thursday.
From a field of 88, 14 persons were selected to receive seed capital of between $7,000 and $14,000 for their businesses. These persons benefited from training by BELTRAIDE’s Small Business Development Centre and are now receiving what CEO in the Ministry of Trade and Investment Michael Singh called a leg-up. We spoke to him about it on Thursday.
“There was a panel of experts, ranging from bankers, economists, and teachers. Each entrepreneur at the end of their course has to make a presentation and a pitch. they have to pitch the panel, and the panel will make a decision as to whether they will be shortlisted, and whether they’ll be funded. So it’s actually a lot of fun.
Each entrepreneur is assigned a counselor, who is a member of the staff at BELTRAIDE, that will work with them one-on-one, [and] help them with their presentations, help them with skills on how to present content, but they have to do it all on their own.”
One of the winning entrepreneurs is Mervin Budram, proprietor of TAS Belize, the folks who maintain PLUS TV’s website. Mr Budram talks to us about how this grant will help expand his business.
“One of the questions we were asked [was] who are we, where are we?
When we went out and did our [field work], a lot of people were very impressed with our work, they were very impressed with our quality, but they never heard of us.
So the seed capital will be central for major marketing. [We’ll have] a marketing campaign, starting this month.
We developed Plus TV website. We’ve [worked] for Builders’ Hardware, [and] Ian Anderson.”
Among the better known entrepreneurs benefitting from the grants are clothing designer Rebecca Stirm from Belmopan and Maria Villanueva, proprietor of Marvilleous Sauces. The grantees are expected to help draw others to BELTRAIDE’s services as they continue to promote the development of small businesses in Belize.