Caribbean entrepreneurs need to look to Diaspora for funding — World Bank Group exec

Funding-1BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — Caribbean entrepreneurs who are looking for funding to develop new or existing businesses are being encouraged to look to their own nationals living abroad.

“Diaspora financing should be explored as a source of funding for entrepreneurs”, said Aun Rahman, head of the infoDev Access to Finance Programme, at the World Bank Group.

Rahman was speaking on the topic “Access to Finance: Examining Non-Traditional Platforms for Funding”, during the final day of the Caribbean Exporters’ Colloquium 2014 in Bridgetown Barbados today.

About 85 per cent of Caribbean people in the Diaspora have said they would “be interested in investing in business back home,” Rahman said adding that they are not only interested in their own countries – but those across the region.

But despite the high interest, Rahman said only a “very few” — about 13 per cent — have actually invested in the Caribbean. The Diaspora investors need a “trusted local partner,” he said.

Project co-ordinator for the Jamaica Venture Capital Programme at the Development Bank of Jamaica, Audrey Richards, also spoke on non-traditional investment sources.

“If we want to attract non-traditional finance, we need to start thinking in a non-traditional way,” she said.

Other participants in the session included Nelson Gray, special project director at LINC Scotland, Shadel Nyack Compton, managing director of Belmont Estate Group of Companies and Judith Mark, managing director and enterprise development consultant at CME Consulting Ltd.

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