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Female business owners get boost

Published:Monday | May 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM
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Scotiabank has created a special loan fund for the Women Business Owner's Network (WBO) which boasts more than 300 members across the island.

The fund of $300M will be open from April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013 and allows a borrowing range from $500,000 to $10M at a maximum of seven years. It will be available to eligible female majority owned and operated businesses that are members of the WBO.

Interest rates start at 9.95 per cent for secured facilities and 11.95 per cent for unsecured, a significant reduction from the bank's base lending rate of 15.75 per cent.

"There is growth in the level of participation of women in formal business ownership and management and we are pleased to roll out this facility to strengthen the management capacity of SMEs which are accessing the mentoring and training facilitated by WBO," said Patsy Latchman-Atterbury, Scotiabank's vice-president in charge of the small and medium enterprises.

Businesses involved in manufacturing, agriculture, export and services industries are eligible. The funds can be used for working capital; acquisition of new capital equipment; re-engineering of production processes; retooling of business facilities; modernising technology; replanting and resuscitating crops in the agricultural sector.

In commenting on the programme, Yaneek Page, president of the WBO said: "The WBO is pleased to engage Scotiabank in this partnership to support and strengthen women business owners in Jamaica. We congratulate the bank for making this special loan facility available to graduates of the IDB/WBO Project. It is our hope that by increasing their access to credit, participants will be able to grow their businesses, employ more persons and make an even greater contribution to the development of their communities and the country as a whole."

To qualify for the loan, borrowers must be WBO members who have successfully completed and graduated from the WBO Technical/Business Training programme.

Other qualifying requirements are that they must have been in operation for at least eighteen months and be owned by a female with a minimum stake in the company of 70 per cent.