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55 CARIFORUM firms to share €1.5M in grant funding for export activities

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export), with the support of the European Union, has allocated €1.5M in grant funding for 55 legally registered firms that engage in the export of products and services.

“It is widely acknowledged that the most significant impediment noted by CARIFORUM business when it comes to business development and expansion is the lack of access to finance,” noted Damie Sinanan, manager of competitiveness and export promotion at Caribbean Export.

Manager, Competitiveness and Export Promotion — Caribbean Export Development Agency Damie Sinanan (Photo: Barbados Advocate)

Estimated to be BD$3.5 million, the funds will be provided through the European Development Fund Regional Private Sector Development Programme for their 2nd Call for Proposals for the Direct Assistance Grant Scheme (DAGS).

“The Direct Assistance Grant Scheme aims specifically to tackle this issue to enable more companies to export and grow,” Sinanan explained.

The 2nd call for proposals was launched in April of this year and Caribbean Export received 104 grant proposal applications from across the region. From that amount, fifty-five (55) proposals have been approved for grant funding, with each company expected to receive BD$66,000.

“It is widely acknowledged that the most significant impediment noted by CARIFORUM business when it comes to business development and expansion is the lack of access to finance.”

— Damie Sinan, manager, competitiveness and export promotion at Caribbean Export

To date, Caribbean Export has awarded a total €3.7 million (BD$8.3 million) in grant funding under the 11th EDF programme and the agency intends on awarding more grants in the upcoming year.

Companies have used grants for a range of projects, including: food safety certification, equipment modernisation to enable increased production, marketing and branding, product development, among other things.