Budget 2020 introduces a special, youth-focused initiative that merits discussion today. That initiative, called the Promotion of Youth Microenterprises (PRYME) programme, seeks to put $2 million in grant funds in the hands of young businesspersons in 2020.
Youth-run microenterprises face a number of challenges to growth, including capital constraints, inadequate skills, and insufficient discipline.
The PRYME programme will complement existing entrepreneurial-support initiatives by identifying promising microenterprises and start-ups that could benefit from appropriate injections of financial or managerial capital.
The PRYME programme will employ a seed capital grant strategy to facilitate its clients’ movement toward empowerment and greater economic self-reliance. By and large, PRYME clients would not be able to risk taking a loan because they have no spare income to make payments if their enterprises do not generate an immediate profit.
A PRYME grant, in contrast to credit, exposes clients to much less risk and allows them to grow a business without immediate loan servicing pressures.
However, a PRYME grant is not an unconditional giveaway. Clients will have to meet various preconditions or on-going reporting obligations, based on the type of business and size of grant. At a minimum, all clients will have to successfully complete basic training in bookkeeping and sound financial management.
Recipients of larger grants will have to complete an approved business plan, allow for scrutiny of their accounts by PRYME officials, and have their grants awarded in stages, with later stages contingent upon the achievement of agreed prior actions and targets.
The PRYME programme expects to reach over 200 young entrepreneurs in 2020, with cash grants between $3,000 and $40,000. The young microentrepreneur might be a fashion designer in need of sewing machines; a barber in need of equipment; a food processor in need of packaging materials; or any number of other creative and original business pursuits.
Our PRYME clients will be screened and shepherded by the Centre for Enterprise Development and Invest SVG, and will also be eligible to occupy space in one of three pilot PRYME Community Enterprise Zones – small retail or service spaces that will be located in various communities nationwide.
Successful PRYME implementation will not be measured simply by the profitability, expansion or long-term survival of the particular business, or in the clients’ contribution to economic growth. Rather, it will focus on how the programme enhances self-sufficiency, empowerment and catalyses entrepreneurial activity among the youth. We hope that tomorrow’s major businessperson or entrepreneur will be incubated and empowered by PRYME today.
Budget 2020’s focus on the youth, and faith in the youth, is exemplified by the PRYME programme, but is demonstrated in countless ways throughout our developmental plan. Only the youth – energetic, engaged, educated, and innovative – can hasten economic transformation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
We cast our developmental lot with the youth, fully confident that they will stand ably on the shoulders of those who came before, seize today’s opportunities, and lift Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to greater levels of achievement.