Starting a business can be tricky if you don’t know the legal as well as bureaucratic hurdles. But for a number of budding entrepreneurs, it was made easier this morning due to a program with the Taiwanese government known as Integral Development of Entrepreneurship for Central America and Dominican Republic. Representatives from the government investment arm, BELTRAIDE, in partnership with the Taiwanese Center for the Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises, awarded seed money to the entrepreneurs. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A cohort of fourteen Belizean entrepreneurs have been awarded for presenting successful business ideas that will take root in the local economy in days to come.  The plans included various products from sauces to educational material, health and wellness to clothing and coconut water.

Melanie Gideon

Melanie Gideon, Acting Exec. Dir., BELTRAIDE

“The reason BELTRAIDE did this project, we signed on for this project was simple, we’re in the business of enterprise development.  That is one of our core functions.  To be able to partner with CENPROMYPE, the Government of Taiwan just was too easy, we couldn’t let it go… BELTRAIDE as an organization learned a lot, so if you think you learned a lot in receiving the business development training BELTRAIDE as an organization we learned how to do it better.  How to put in better systems, how to do the advising a little more strategically and learned from things that didn’t work as well as we’d like them.  So to know that this program not only helped about thirty-one small businesses in the last eighteen months but to know that it prepared the support agency that is BELTRAIDE to be better at it the next time we go through it.”

As part of an initiative known as Integral Development of Entrepreneurship for Central America and Dominican Republic, BELTRAIDE in partnership with the Center for the Promotion of Micro and Small Enterprises and the Taiwanese Embassy formally recognized the young businessmen and women for completing the second round of EMPRENDE.

Carmen Castro

Carmen Castro, Regional Coordinator, EMPRENDE

“The program in its totality consists of more than three million dollars and more than sixty percent has been destined to seed capital for the whole region.  This is an important and valuable support from the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the promotion of entrepreneurship in the region and in Belize. Since Belize currently leads the presidency of the board of CENPROMYPE and under the presidency pro tempore of SICA, we believe as CENPROMYPE the country has the perfect setting to launch its own strategy of entrepreneurship.  We hope we can fulfill these objectives on November or December.  We have been talking with Melanie, we can do it maybe on the Global Entrepreneurship Week that we are going to be doing here in Belize…one of your key areas.”

Among the group of fourteen is well-known Belizean clothing designer, Rebecca Stirm.  Stirm is one of ten entrepreneurs to have received seed capital in the amount of seven thousand U.S. dollars.  She describes the outcome of the program.

Rebecca Stirm

Rebecca Stirm, Award Recipient

“If we’d come out the end without the seed capital we would have still come out with something very big.  We learned a lot and we made a lot of amazing connections with each other.   Thank you to BELTRAIDE for facilitating it, you guys have laid an amazing foundation for us to totally reap off of.  And thank you to SBDC, you guys have been amazing and we’re going to be keeping you, we’re keeping you.  We’re definitely going to be calling you after this.  So thank you guys and congratulation to us, we did well.”

The second round of EMPRENDE began in April and concluded in August. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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