Retired banker: Lack of support for T&T’s young entrepreneurs
Published: Sunday, November 10, 2013
Sean Nero

Retired banker Richard Young has expressed concern about the unwillingness of local banks to provide seed money to emerging businesses. Speaking in his new capacity as chairman of the Economic Development Board, a division of the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development, Young said well established financial institutions cannot see the value when it comes to investing in young people.

“Unfortunately, the services sector is one of the areas of least financial support since most commercial banks and others established financial institution in the country are reluctant to fund entrepreneurial start-up businesses since these are considered to be risky business propositions,” he said.

Young added: “In this regard, the Government of T&T, through the Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development has set up an Innovation Financing Facility with seed funding of $10 million to encourage an entrepreneurial culture among the young people of the country.”

In the feature address at the T&T Coalition of Services Industries Third Annual Awards Ceremony at the Ballroom at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Young announced 53 winners in the Ideas to Innovation (i2i) competition organised by the Council for Competitiveness and Innovation accessed grants ranging from $75,000 to $200,000 to develop their ideas to proof of concept.

Out of these, 12 were in the category of services, while six were in the creative industries. In 2012, five grants were awarded in the services sector and six were awarded to creative industries.

He said these young innovators, creators and entrepreneurs are poised to the country’s creative capital and noted the potential of their vibrant ideas to create jobs within the next two years. “Of course, the commercialisation of their products/ideas will translate into profits for the owners, while adding to the economic development of the country,” Young said.