Caribbean businesses wanting to access Caribbean Export Development Agency’s (Caribbean Export) new Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) are reminded that the first call for proposals is October 21. The deadline for submission of applications is November 28, 2011 at 4:30 pm (Eastern Caribbean Time). The new DAGS is financed under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).

Over 170 firms benefited from the last scheme which was financed under the 9th EDF and Caribbean Export expects the response to the new DAGS to be equally encouraging.

To coincide with the last DAGS, Caribbean Export conducted proposal writing workshops to ensure that prospective beneficiaries were equipped with the skills to access the new DAGS. Over 600 persons received such training which resulted in an increased number of applications, when compared with the response to previous DAGS, and most importantly an increase number of approvals per country were recorded.

This year, Caribbean Export in collaboration with the region’s Ministries of Trade and Business Support Organisations (BSOs) such as the Chamber of Commerce, Exporters Associations, Investment Promotion Agencies, Small Business Associations and Industrial Development Corporations is providing similar seminars. These workshops will provide the requisite technical support to firms and enhance the capacity of Business Support Organisations (BSOs) to ensure that firms in all CARIFORUM countries have access to persons that can help them prepare proposals.

Workshops have so far been held in all CARIFORUM states.

Firms and BSOs interested in applying for grant funding must meet the following eligibility criteria:

I. A legally registered firm/individual operating in a CARIFORUM member state; or

II. A legally registered Business Support Organization (BSOs) in a CARIFORUM member state which is undertaking an activity in partnership with at least two  private sector firms;

III. Trading in the following Sectors: Alternative Energy, Agriculture, Agro-Processing, Creative Industries, Health & Wellness, Information Communication Technology, Manufacturing, Professional Services, Tourism;

IV. Exporting or potential to export goods and services

V. Operational for at least two  years, supported by the last two years financial statements/accounts; and

VI. Able to finance and sustain their projects fully; that is 100% financing is available.

Further information on the New DAGS Guidelines, Application Forms, Eligibility Criteria, eligible Projects, amounts to be funded is available from Caribbean Export’s website

The New Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS) is funded by 10th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme (RPSDP). The RPSDP programme overall objective is to assist CARIFORUM countries gradually integrate into the world economy, to enhance their individual capacity, economies and growth and to further alleviate poverty.