Dominica: Two cohorts of Dominican business owners have received grants amounting to $295,758 under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Future Tourism Project. The first group got $257,850, while the second group comprising 4 individuals, were awarded approximately $EC9,500 each.
The Minister of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, Daren Pinard, congratulated the beneficiaries and wished them luck with their business. He said that following COVID-19, there has been huge instability and high inflation because of the shortage in the supply chain, and the issue has risen subsequently due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Minister Pinard said that such factors could not be controlled by the government, which is why such grants are being distributed to provide small business owners with some help. According to him, the recipients were given direction and support in addition to the project, which included a business plan to aid them further.
The Minister also outlined that the people of Dominica have a first-hand experience of the serious and devastating effects of natural disasters and the negative external shocks to businesses and livelihoods. Daren Pinard added that these external events had had the most negative effects on the businesses and the local economy, disclosing that Dominica lost almost 226% of its GDP because of Hurricane Maria, which hit the nation in 2017.
The Minister outlined that small businesses around the world are among the largest employment blocks, and in Dominica, 3000 active small businesses are contributing around 15000 jobs and 20% of the GDP.
Pinard emphasised that the government’s small business support unit established in 2009, directly assists businesses with the registration procedure and in getting their products certified.
He added that the government had made import duty waivers available via their fiscal incentive concession license to small business owners with gross incomes of around $250,000 and less, and motivates those who come in that bracket to take benefit of all government programs, even at strengthening and supporting their small businesses.
Notably, the beneficiaries at the ceremony were female following which Minister Daren Pinark took the opportunity to talk about Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) program headed by the OAS – Organization of American States and his ministry in Dominica.
The WEE aims to boost the capacity of women entrepreneurs to take benefit of the digital economy. The project will help female entrepreneurs to build sustainable livelihoods via workshops and trainings and will provide access to online resources while making a digital hub for women connecting with the markets and the diaspora.
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