Small business owners in Dominica want financial institutions to create a friendlier environment for aspiring entrepreneurs to be able to acquire funds and source loans.
The issue was raised last evening at a National Foundation of Dominica (NDFD) Small Business Consultation which aimed to bring to light some of the challenges that small business owners face.
One Small business owner, Fermine Layne, pointed out that when unemployed aspiring entrepreneurs seek loans, the requirements imposed by financial institutions are way beyond them.
“From my experience in the past, a lot of young people have brilliant ideas, older ones too, but they are not employed at any institution,” she stated. “So when they come to the financial institutions to get funding, if you have to get one dollar from a bank you have to have one dollar saved in that bank. In terms of security you have to have land, you have to have someone to take a loan on your account, which means salary deductions.”
Layne said further that financial institutions need to find new ways to address this sensitive issue and reach down to the needs of the unemployed youths who want to make something of themselves.
Members of the Arts and Crafts Producers Association and the Manufacturers Association agreed. They argued that that small enterprises and even the students from the Portsmouth Secondary School who are showing keen interest in developing small businesses, are unemployed and don’t have any collateral and hence they won’t be able to get a loan.
Executive Director of the NDFD, Cletus Joseph, said the purpose of the consultation was to hear first hand of the needs of the organization’s clients.
“From business owners and representatives who kind of really inform us as to the types of products that they would like to have, so we will be using that information to guide us in formulating our policies and even procedures that we need to have in dealing with small business owners that we give loans,” he said.
There were over 50 participants at the consultation with representatives from the Fisheries Division, Cooperative Division, and Dominica Manufacturers Association, Dominica Arts and Craft Association as well as small business owners.