NEW INITIATIVE: Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago Ltd country head Anya Schnoor addresses guests at the launch and opening ceremony of Small Business Week at the Bank's hospitality Suite, Queen's Park Oval, St Clair Avenue, Port of Spain, yesterday. —Photo: ANISTO ALVES

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Scotia offers $100m to small businesses

...fund available until April 30, 2013

Scotiabank will be offering export-minded companies the opportunity to access its $100 million Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) Export Development Fund in order to develop their export capacity.

In her maiden speech as Scotiabank's country head for Trinidad and Tobago, Anya Schnoor told stakeholders yesterday at the bank's launch of Small Business Week that Scotia felt it needed to provide a special incentive to these companies.

The fund will be available to members of various business associations until April 30, 2013.

Schnoor, who replaces Scotia's managing director Richard Young who has retired, said the bank sees the fund as a way for it to partner with the public and private sector to diversify the economy.

The bank will also be reducing its prime lending rate from November 5 by 25 basis points (0.25 per cent) in line with the Central Bank's reduction of the "repo" rate.

"We are offering even more differential rates for this focus on small business enterprises. It is something we feel is important for the economy. Being in Trinidad and Tobago, we have a commitment to the country and we know this is an area of the country important for growth," she said.

Schnoor added that the bank would be focusing not just on offering preferential rates to small businesses, but also advising them on the best ways of utilising their financing plans.

"It is about encouraging small businesses and helping them to be successful. If you give somebody a loan and they don't know what to do with it, then the loan goes bad. So before we give them a loan we want to advise them on the best chance for success," she said.

Scotiabank's Small Business Week continues until November 8.

—Carla Bridglal

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