New Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Get A Break On Utilities

Beltraide has been pushing hard for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises – and another leap forward was announced today. It is in the form of a partnership with utility companies, BTL, BEL and BWSL. The idea is to give start-up companies an ease in their utility connections – not in the costs, but in the first time connections. Here’s how it works:…

Dr. Dionne Miranda - G.M. Customer Services, BTL
"What we found out from all young entrepreneurs or small businesses starting is that the initial cost start up is the hardest so they tent to operate within the grey or the black market because they prefer to use a cell phone that has no listing because that is the best way but when someone wants to find them you can't find that little fudge company that Melanie brought up earlier. Basically you can't find them, they don't have a phone, they don't have a fixed location, water, light nor all of the things such as food handlers certificates and those things if you don't do it the proper way. At the end of the day their business is not successful because they didn't start it properly in the first place. What BELTRAIDE is doing is finding out every start up barrier that you have ever had in starting up your business and going to everybody and negotiating to see how they can get you to start your business the right way to guarantee success. Because when you do things half way you can't achieve full success - that is BELTRAIDE's purpose here today."

Melanie Gideon - BELTRAIDE, SBDC Belize
"So we went to the betting and we issued a status which is a letter stating that you have been approved Micro-Enterprise status - you take that letter to any utility company and you will be able to access their start up packages."

Dr. Dionne Miranda
"All three utilities have agreed that we're going to wave application fees for the services that the entrepreneur or the business wants. Application fees such as in our environment if you're going to apply for internet you pay a $100 installation - that will be completely free. Deposits will be waved so you don't have to come up with that deposit as well which is usually a deterrent for you to move on."

Melanie Gideon
"The benefit package can be anywhere from $200 to $1200 in savings - that's a lot of money when you micro-enterprise and this is one of the means that we're trying to help you. We will give you the skill set and lower the cost of your establishment."

From the BTL side, benefits include benefits also include cheaper internet and free listing in the phone book. The incentive programme is only for newly registered businesses. You can get information at the small business development center which is on the UB Belize City Campus.

Channel 7