UBEC Engages Stakeholders in Grenada for Upcoming Matching Grants Program

UBEC Engages Stakeholders in Grenada for Upcoming Matching Grants Program
Photo courtesy: OECS Media

Grenada, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the three participating member states of the Unleashing the Blue Economy of the Caribbean (UBEC) project—a regional, World Bank-funded project that will focus on strengthening the tourism, fisheries, and waste management sectors to enable greater sustainability both environmentally and financially. UBEC will be implemented under two main components: namely, strengthening governance, policies, and capacity building, and scaling up access to finance and infrastructure investment.

The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission is the implementing agency of the UBEC project, and the team has begun the groundwork for a Regional Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise (MSME) Matching Grants Program as part of the second above-mentioned component. The financing mechanism aims to increase employment, job opportunities, productivity, innovation, industry resilience, and stimulate economic recovery for the region.

It will offer financial assistance through two windows: the first will support individual MSMEs with grants ranging from USD $5,000 to $25,000, and the second will assist collaborating MSME value chain groups consisting of multiple firms with grants ranging from USD $100,000 to $200,000. The OECS will finance 70 percent of each grant’s total budget in window one and 80 percent in window two.

From February 27 to 28, 2024, the UBEC project team met with government officials in Grenada from the Ministries of Tourism, Agriculture, the Grenada Tourism Authority, Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority, Grenada Investment Development Corporation, and Grenada Development Bank to map out the in-country supporting mechanisms needed to execute the Regional MSME Matching Grants Program. The ministries and agencies provided insight into the methods and best practices for the program’s execution and performed knowledge and data sharing exercises to determine the general readiness of local MSMEs in the three priority sectors for UBEC. Officials also advised on the opportunities and challenges particular to Grenada, which the UBEC project team should consider while curating implementation techniques for the program.

The stakeholder consultations were followed by two days of visiting Grenadian-owned MSMEs focused on providing products, services, and solutions in the tourism, fisheries, and waste management industries. From February 29 to March 1, 2024, one-on-one meetings with a sample of entrepreneurs served as a research activity for the UBEC team as the financial, environmental, and social eligibility of the businesses were considered and discussed.

The UBEC project team will conduct similar country missions in Saint Lucia (March 5 to 8, 2024) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (March 19 to 22, 2024). The results from all three consultations will be applied to the Regional MSME Matching Grants Program, which is scheduled to launch in May 2024.

Follow the OECS Commission’s press room, social media pages, and WhatsApp channel for updates on the UBEC project and Regional MSME Matching Grants Program.

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