Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) Pamela Coke-Hamilton addressed an audience of beneficiaries and key partners and extended congratulations to the firms that recently were awarded grants under the Agency’s Direct Assistance Grant Scheme on Tuesday August 12, 2014 at the Embassy Suites, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Throughout the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) programme Caribbean Export has supported some 587 firms in the Dominican Republic through a range of activities that includes financial assistance, training and export promotion. And in spite of the limited access to finance that continues to be one of the single greatest impediments faced by many businesses across the region from expansion, the news of some €250,000 being awarded to firms in Dominican Republic is encouraging.
The Agency has a clear vision to not only provide greater access to finance but also offer the support necessary for firms to develop and grow in a manner that enables them to effectively and efficiently utilise grant funding to make significant impacts to their businesses contributing to the overall objective of actualising the gradual integration of CARIFORUM countries into the world economy.
“The promotion of stronger trade and investment cooperation between CARICOM and the Dominican Republic is one of the four key results areas through which we intend to achieve our overall goal” expressed Coke-Hamilton. Coke-Hamilton also acknowledged that “it is the private sector that will lead the region out of the current economic malaise.”
The firms benefiting from the Schemes funding in the Dominican Republic represent largely the manufacturing sector with 50%, agro-processing and business support organisation sectors accounting for 20% each, followed by 10% for information and communication technology. The funding provided to beneficiaries is often utilised to modernize equipment, upgrade facilities to meet international food and quality standards, enhance products and packaging, implement alternative energy systems, market and promote products and services, train staff, and develop collateral materials.
To date, Caribbean Export has awarded 475 SMEs and BSOs across the region via direct assistance grants totalling €8,372,277.82. These figures represent the Call for Proposals (CFPs) during the 9th European Development Fund (EDF) Caribbean Trade and Private Sector Development Programme (CTPSDP: 2008-2010), and the 10th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP: 2011-2014).
The Agency has awarded a total of €2,992,287 or $4.02 million USD to firms and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) across the region during this Call for Proposals for both the Accelerated and Regular Procedures grant facilities which was published on January 17, 2014 with a deadline for submission of application on March 7, 2014. For the regular procedures, the maximum funding available for a project is €30,000, while the accelerated procedures limit is €5,000.
The DAGS is a reimbursement grant funding facility specifically designed to provide financial assistance to legally registered small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), individuals, and business support organisations (BSOs) with the potential to export their products and services.