PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – Based on the success of the Enterprise Support Project and the evident need for further assistance to entrepreneurs in the local market, the National Recovery Project Bureau (NRPB) is pleased to announce that the project has been extended until June 2028. This extension will provide local businesses with more time to apply for grant funding, thereby fostering further growth and development in the sector.
With this extension, businesses can now apply for grants and low-interest loans until June 30, 2025. They will also benefit from a longer repayment period, providing them with greater financial flexibility. While this extension offers new applicants a longer repayment term, it is important to clarify that existing beneficiaries who have already started the loan repayment process, will not have their repayment period automatically extended. We urge existing beneficiaries to contact their PFIs (Participating Financial Institutions) to explore potential options.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project provides funding to support MSMEs in restoring and acquiring essential assets and covering operational expenses. Since its launch in August 2020, the ESP has supported more than 200 local businesses from a variety of sectors and provided training to over 100 participants.
The restructuring of the project will strengthen the long-term sustainability of capacity building. The project is also placing a stronger emphasis on targeted support to new, micro, and small businesses. This extension and revised design of the project went into effect on September 15th, 2023.
Finance Minister Ardwell Irion, who has been one of the project’s champions, is pleased to see a stronger emphasis on training and financial support, particularly for new entrepreneurs. Initially, the project offered only a 65% grant, however now with the revised design new businesses may be eligible for a higher grant amount of up to 75%. This option is available for businesses that partake in select small business training programs such as the ESP Training, Small Business Academy (SBA) hosted by Qredits, and the SEDP training launched by the Ministry of TEATT. Some examples of the content covered in these sessions are business plan writing and business management practices that will support sustainable and scalable results for businesses.
“The Government of Sint Maarten continues to support Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through the ESP program because these enterprises play a pivotal role in driving economic growth, creating employment, and fostering innovation. By providing partial grant funding, the government aims to alleviate some of the financial challenges MSMEs face, especially during their early stages, ensuring their survival and growth. This not only aids in job creation but also enhances the competitiveness and resilience of the national economy. Moreover, supporting MSMEs contributes to achieving a more equitable distribution of wealth.” said Finance Minister Irion.
As micro-businesses are essential contributors to the local economy, Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Leo Lambriex supports these changes, especially considering Sint Maarten’s recovery from both the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the current war in Ukraine.
“I encourage all to embrace the opportunity to continue to grow and urge all to take up this offer, ” said TEATT Minister Lambriex.
“Small and micro businesses are the backbone of our economy, driving innovation and creating jobs in every corner of our nation. I urge every aspiring entrepreneur to seize this opportunity provided by the Enterprise Support Project, for together, we can build a stronger, more resilient economy that benefits us all. This perfectly aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 8, which encompasses a wide range of targets aimed at promoting economic growth, creating decent job opportunities, and fostering entrepreneurship, including support for small and micro businesses, ” – stated Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs.
The NRPB is optimistic about the future of micro and small businesses on the island. The organization would like to thank all participating financial institutions for their continued support and dedicated work. Revised criteria can be found on the ESP webpage, please visit www.nrpbsxm.org/esp or get in contact with the ESP team by e-mailing email@example.com or calling +1-721-542-8886 or +1-721-542-8887.
ESP is a project of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, which is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the NRPB on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten.