Banco di Caribe has joined forces with the NRPB on the Enterprise Support Project (ESP) to continue to support small and medium businesses on Sint Maarten. An agreement was signed to partner with the NRPB on November 24.
During these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to preserve the affected industries and jobs in the country. In Sint Maarten, the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) form a rich and diverse tapestry of culture and economic prosperity. They are a major source of job creation and serve as an important vehicle for re-igniting the island’s recovery. Unfortunately, many businesses are struggling after the 2017 Hurricanes and especially the economic hit of COVID-19. Access to financing is a longstanding challenge, particularly among women and young entrepreneurs. To support small businesses, the ESP was launched in August 2020. This US$35 million relief initiative is fully funded by the Government of the Netherlands through the Sint Maarten Trust Fund and has already begun strengthening the small business community. Since its initial launch, the ESP has received much interest with over 70 applications. With the new partnership with Banco di Caribe, the ESP will have a greater capacity to provide much needed support to small businesses through low-interest loans and grants.
Mr. Eduardo A. de Kort Managing Director of Banco di Caribe N.V. (BdC) believes that the joint efforts between BdC and the NRPB will help Sint Maarten not only recover but prosper. “BdC is socially committed and business oriented,” Mr. Eduardo A. de Kort said, “We already have several interested clients. We are excited to be able to help provide the much needed support to the Sint Maarten people.”
“I’m so glad to be working with BdC,” NRPB Director Claret Connor said of this new partnership. “Our goals are fully aligned: a clear, concise way for our local small businesses to prosper and thrive. This project leverages the small business’s evolution by ensuring that there will be hands-on support and guidance. Our ESP team has been working diligently on its implementation, and as we continue to strive the effects of the project and its objectives will have a positive result in building resiliency within the Small Business Community of St Maarten.”
“It’s a really unique opportunity,” Chris Johnson, head of the Representation of the Netherlands said of the project. “Community members have the opportunity not just to overcome the financial difficulties that the 2017 Hurricanes and COVID-19 put them in, but actually to come out better than before.”
An upcoming training session is in the works for small business owners looking to not just recover but grow through the ESP. It’s through financial support of the Netherlands and the assistance from the World Bank and our local financial partners like BdC, Qredits and the Windward Islands Bank that this is possible for the small business community of Sint Maarten.
In an effort to continuously engage with the business community and other stakeholders on the island, the ESP team is reaching out to various organizations on the island whose members could potentially benefit from the project. Other financial institutions interested in joining the ESP are encouraged to reach out for information on how their participation can contribute to Sint Maarten’s recovery.
More detailed information on the support offered through the NRPB is available here.
For more information regarding BdC please visit their website.