Friday, February 13, 2015

By Kadian Brown February 13, 2015

The Self Start Fund (SSF) is projecting to lend approximately $5 billion to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) over the next four years, as part of continued efforts to facilitate the growth and viability of the sector, promote entrepreneurship and create jobs.

Speaking with JIS News, General Manager of the SSF, Sezvin Hamilton, informed that over the period, the entity is expecting to offer loans to some 3,000 customers, which could foster the creation or maintenance of some 4,000 jobs.

The SSF lends to persons who own a business, want to own a business or have viable projects.

“So, we provide financial services to businesses for all purposes, including working capital support and for the purchase of assets. Persons may be involved in agriculture, trading, services, the creative industry and manufacturing-type businesses,” Mr. Hamilton outlined.

Loans are valued up to a maximum of $750,000 at an interest rate of 23 per cent per annum.

“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,” Mr. Hamilton explained.

The general requirements for applying for a loan are provision of tax registration number (TRN); valid ID; two certified passport-size photographs; three recent utility bills in applicant’s name; pro-forma invoice; business plan; cash flow statement; job letter and pay slip, if applicable; and completed application form.

As it relates to the loan selection process, the General Manager highlighted that, “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.”

In terms of the way forward, Mr. Hamilton informed that the SSF is in the process of rebranding and repositioning itself in order to respond to the demands of the MSME sector and maximize its product offering.

He noted too, that focus will be placed on strengthening its business support service and risk management and collection.

A major intent, he added, is to expand the pool of funds and possibly increase the loan amount from its current maximum of $750,000 to $3 million.

“We want to get a larger pool of funds, as with this our product types can be varied significantly, likewise our lending rates, and then we would be able to reduce the interest rates and still make a small surplus,” Mr. Hamilton said.

For more details on the product offerings, persons may visit the SSF at

10a Parkington Plaza in Kingston; call 929-8441-2 or send email to:


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