Self Start Fund to lend J$100 m in 2014/15
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — The Self Start Fund (SSF) is projecting to lend more than $100 million to the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector for 2014/15, leading to a projected 1,000 jobs.
Established by the government in 1983, SSF provides loans to micro and small entrepreneurs and individuals, who are unable to access financing from traditional institutions.
General Manager of the SSF, Sezvin Hamilton, said that the institution provides loans to people involved in agriculture, trading, services and manufacturing-type businesses, up to a maximum of $750,000. The interest rate is 23 per cent per annum.
He added that for the past five years, the SSF has disbursed 617 loans valued at over $200 million, and created 2,144 jobs.
“Our loan policy admits everyone or all persons doing business and in particular small and micro businesses…we interview them and provide them with an application form, which sets out quite a lot and require documents that they have to produce as proof that they are operating legitimate businesses,” Hamilton explained.
In terms of the repayment period, the General Manager points out that this does not usually exceed 24 months, dependent on the loan terms.
“We would look in terms of what the person is doing and how much they are borrowing, how much they can pay based on their financial projection, cash flow, financial statements and all relevant documents, so that we can determine with the customer, how much they can manage to pay and that will guide us as to how long we should make the loan,” said Hamilton.