St. Maarten Government crafting new loan and coaching scheme for businesses

POSTED: 06/22/12 2:51 PM

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Roland Tuitt had his last meeting with a bank on Wednesday on a new loan facility that will allow especially young people to start their own business. Government is hoping to boost the economy with this initiative that will also include coaching from experienced and retired business people for the entrepreneurs. The new facility also includes soft loans.
One of the programs that we’re looking at is where facilities can be made available for new investors like young people who want to open a business and that will have a facility via the financial institutions on the island. But we are looking that once they get the financial facility that they can get a coaching aspect into that mix. So if an individual starts a business, he would have a coach which is a retired and experienced business man. We are looking at those and they will be used to coach the new entrepreneur so he can get the necessary guidance
Later he’d add, “If you look at why so many small businesses are failing, it’s because the businessmen don’t have the experience or discipline to go through the first years of business. We think if you have the necessary guidance a program like that would be more successful. We will have to work out the coaching system with the financial institutions. Government could subsidize it. It can also be part of the loan structure. But we’ll be trying to use individuals that are well retired and they won’t have a problem doing it for a reasonable fee.”
Government is also trying to find ways to keep existing businesses from shutting down.
“The economy is lagging, businesses are closing down and that is not a good sign as far as the government that is working for the people is concerned. We’re looking for structures where the businesses can get a boost. At the same time you have to look for economic activities and get the economy going. For years St. Maarten has relied only on the construction business and that is one arm of the economy that you have to keep going, but there are other arms that you have to make sure are in place and they are operating at the maximum level,” Tuitt said.

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