56 entrepreneurs benefit from SEED grants


Business



Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox (centre) holds the cheque for the recipients of the SEED programme at the distribution ceremony held on June 17 at the Diego Martin Community Centre, Diamond Vale. - Photo by Enrique Rupert
Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox (centre) holds the cheque for the recipients of the SEED programme at the distribution ceremony held on June 17 at the Diego Martin Community Centre, Diamond Vale. – Photo by Enrique Rupert

MINISTER of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox has said 56 entrepreneurs from across Trinidad and Tobago have benefited from the ministry’s Sowing Empowerment Through Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) grant, at a cost of $791,292.10.

The distribution ceremony, attended by 29 of those 56 entrepreneurs, was held on June 17 at the Diego Martin Community Centre.

The entrepreneurial endeavours of those present were wide-ranging, as they included businesses such as mini marts, cosmetology, hydroponics, micro green cultivation, air condition repairs, auto body shops, graphic design, tailoring, clothing businesses, agro-processing, hairdressing, spas, salons, catering, dessert shops and bakeries.

Cox said this programme showed the unwavering commitment of the ministry to combat poverty and uplift communities.

“The SEED programme aims to provide a mechanism to empower vulnerable citizens to have an interest in starting or improving their own business, but unable to access funding on their own through traditional means.”

She said the government is about “identifying and implementing solutions,” and hence the development of the SEED programme.

“There are numerous persons who are hell-bent on finding problems with every solution embarked upon.

“With this event we are demonstrating our willingness to respond to those who feel they have no voice. We are responding to those who by virtue of their current circumstances and feel excluded from traditional financial centres.”

She said the programme is a direct product of the government’s economic recovery roadmap and works in tandem with other initiatives, not only with this ministry, but with the entire government.

“We give grants up to $15,000 for business essentials and an additional $7,500 skills training as we aim to empower our entrepreneurs and facilitate their journey towards economic independence.

“It is a beacon of hope in the otherwise despairing darkness aspiring entrepreneurs face.”

One of the recipients, Nigel Deonarine, owns a small hydroponics business in Point Fortin, called Greenery Hydro Farm.

Deonarine said he used various method of hydroponic technology and hopes to expand his range of produce thanks to the grant.

“I use nutrient film technique, drip to waste and I currently produce chive and shadon beni and I’m hoping that I can get into lettuce production now.”

He said he started his business in 2020 and is looking forward to putting the grant to good use.

“I feel very excited being a recipient of this grant and I know that it can help me take my business to new heights.

Deonarine encouraged upcoming entrepreneurs to apply for the grant, as it can assist in starting or expanding a business.

“It will give you income-generation and take you out of poverty.”



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