Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon announced some of the measures that are being developed by the Government to support and promote female entrepreneurship, as a viable avenue to contribute towards economic growth and recovery.
At the Launch of the She Trades Hub on Wednesday, Gopee-Scoon said that the United Nations (UN) has stated that COVID-19 has widened the gender poverty gap for females.
“Our concern as Government is that our female entrepreneurs are able to thrive during these difficult times and beyond the Pandemic grow, by taking advantage of traditional and new opportunities.”
She said one of the ways Government is supporting female entrepreneurship is by establishing AccessTT Centres throughout the country to deliver training and provide access to e-Government services particularly in the rural and less-developed areas.
She said, “The National E-Commerce Strategy is aimed at creating an enabling environment which facilitates and promotes e-commerce to serve domestic and international consumer markets.
Training sessions in areas such as “How to take your business online”, “How to market your good or service online” and the “Benefits of trading online” have been provided for hundreds of entrepreneurs.”
The Government has been deliberate in ensuring that SMEs in various sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, services and creative industries are provided with targeted financial support during the pandemic through several facilities.
Some of these include:
- A government-guaranteed Stimulus Loan Programme via the local Banking sector which offers Zero-interest loans to cover Salaries
- A Micro-enterprise Grant Programme (offering up to TT$20,000) to benefit over 5,000 micro-enterprises
- A Grant Fund Facility that targets SMEs in various sectors including manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, financial services, maritime services, creative industries, fish and fish processing, aviation services and software design application
- TT$500 Million Agriculture Stimulus Package which will provide opportunities in agro-processing including nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals
The Government is also significantly expanding support to various programmes which will provide targeted capacity building in the Services Sector which consist of many female-owned businesses.
Two new export accelerating programmes are also offered which include the Services Go Global and GATEWAY to Trade Programme.
Additionally, she said that the Ministry of Labour has engaged the online learning platform Coursera to offer the Commonwealth of Learning – Coursera Workforce Recovery Programme to individuals 18-60 years of age who are retrenched, unemployed or underemployed.
This programme gives access to over 4000 free online courses in several specialized areas.
Additionally, the Ministry of Community Development has multiple short courses available, free of charge,
to educate and empower persons seeking to learn a new skill or trade.