~ Local entrepreneurs already getting help ~
Minister of Economic Affairs Mellissa Arrindell-Doncher has called the establishing of Qredits microfinancing on St. Maarten as one of the accomplishments she is most proud of during her tenure and complimented the hard work put in by the Department of Economy, Transportation & Telecommunication (ETT) to see it through to fruition.
Qredits, a foundation in Holland in existence since 2009, offers unsecured micro and small business loans to qualified individuals while the risk is carried by Qredits. An amount of about € 250 million has been made available for SME’s (small medium enterprises) on Sint Maarten. Qredits has the advantage of creating employment through job creation and increase revenue collection by government.
“First, I want to compliment Lucy Gibbes, Jude Houston, Makhicia Brooks and the entire team at ETT for the diligent work they put into this project and also the local team of workers including Edsel Gumbs and others. It is a proud moment to see local entrepreneurs getting financial help to either kick-start their business or make investments in an existing small business,” the Minister said.
“Having run local businesses in Philipsburg I know that financial assistance is essential to our people to help them to establish their dreams. It’s tough out there. So if we could make it possible to help our people and stimulate the economy at the same time, it was seen as a challenge worth taking up. I am proud to have been able to sign it into existence and proud of our people who did and continue to do the ground work,” the Minister added.
The Minister stressed that the empowerment of Sint Maarten’s SME’s, especially considering that these enterprises account for 80% of all businesses on the island, is extremely important for the future of the country. The access to microfinancing, she added, is an issue that young entrepreneurs has called for and that government has recognized that it must facilitate.
“Small businesses maybe a little under appreciated by the general population and they may not generate as much money as large companies, but they are a critical component of and major contributor to the strength of our economy. Small businesses present new employment opportunities and serve as our building blocks,” the Minister said.
“Most importantly, small businesses also help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities and attract talent who invent new products or implement new solutions for existing challenges,” she added.