PRESS RELEASE – LPM’s economic empowerment strategy will address the needs of large, but especially medium, small and microenterprises (the one-man start-ups so to speak) in an export-orientation drive.
St. Lucian businesses and industries must find a permanent home on the international value-added supply chain.
To dovetail the alignment of educational support for empowerment with our economic empowerment, the operations and capital structure of lending institutions and financial intermediaries such as credit unions must be modernized, revamped and incentivised.
In addition to conditional tax incentives, LPM will focus a great deal of attention on reducing the failure rate of small-and and micro businesses. To address this problem, in addition to the enhancement of industrial estates for a changing hi-tech global environment, we will create a critical mass of business incubators.
Access and inclusion will be based on meeting certain business criteria and will be supported by the evaluations of related financial institutions that will make available micro-businesses loans to qualified businesses.
Reducing start-up and expansion costs and providing an enabling environment (business support with business plan and proposal writing, and other advisory services, to secure necessary funding with skilled personnel) will give the new and developing entrepreneurial class envisioned, (to include both young, the old and the retired), greater opportunities to find growth niches, based on various types of business units for self-employment, for employment creation, business expansion and business growth.
A pre-occupation of the new LPM administration is the creation of a facilitating centre for returning nationals who wish to retire and invest part of their retirement savings into new businesses.
This is to correct the imbalance, and the historically skewed approach whereby incentives and lending windows for business investment are made more readily available to non-nationals and investors from abroad. LPM will give equal treatment to investors.
St Lucia’s new export-oriented production will be supported by an export credit insurance mechanism. This is aimed at encouraging export trade, and to give St. Lucian producers some degree of protection from the vagaries of exporting.
The relevant United Nations agency will be approached for the design, establishment and training of St. Lucians for managing this facility. This facility too, will be managed as a subunit of one of our major domestic development bank institutions.
Greater effort will also be directed at exposing and aiding our domestic companies to the importance of meeting ISO standards to enhance their participation as business partners in the global supply and value chain.