What is an SME?
- The term SME Lending refers to lending to businesses with total exposures (direct and indirect) of up to $1 Million
- Small businesses are those with loans/lending facilities up to $200,000
- Medium-sized businesses are those with loans/lending facilities above EC$200,000 but no higher than EC$1M
Bank of Saint Lucia recognizes the real challenges that SMEs face and has devised a strategy to assist them with one of their most pressing issues – access to finance. The Bank’s SME staff are equipped to handle lending as well as other product and service needs of SME clients.
The Reality. Like many small developing societies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are the foundation of the Saint Lucian economy. According to Saint Lucia’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, over 80% of businesses on the island are SMEs, a statistical testament to the critical role that these businesses play in the economy. SMEs are a major source of employment, and therefore are vital to the alleviation of poverty as well as the social and economic stability of the island. They span a wide and diverse range of sectors such as hospitality, cosmetology, construction, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture, to name a few.
The Challenges. SMEs have faced significant challenges despite their integral role in the local economy. The Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry has identified some of the challenges which include: lack of market research & information, human resource constraints, poor cash flow management and limited access to finance. All of these issues combined with increased competition from external products and services create a difficult economic environment for SMEs to succeed. The most critical challenge facing SMEs is however, access to finance, which is precisely what they need for their business to not just stay afloat but to grow and prosper.
The Solution…come in to see Bank of Saint Lucia's SME Unit today!
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