St.Kitts-Nevis’ positive economic fortunes within the last two years has no doubt not only come from the fiscally prudent management of a new Prime Minister Dr. Timtohy Harris led Team UNITY administration but also the many development initiatives the new administration has undertaken. One of these initiatives has been the hugely successful FRESH START Loan Programme . The Programme, inaugurated in 2015 months after the historic election of the TRI-Party Team UNITY Administratio, is one of the new Government’s most successful initiatives to encourage small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Federation. The Programme works through the Development Bank of St Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) to provide loans for entrepreneurs and small businesses, ensuring access to funding for business activities that will further bolster the Federation’s growing economy.
Prime Minister Harris announced in his most recent Press Conference held on Wednesday April 5th, that some 507 SME’s have beneffitted from the programme.
“To date 507 loans were approved under the Fresh Start Programme in the amount of $40,193,858.17 with a sum of $33,962,067.23 being disbursed,” announced Prime Minister Harris .
Commenting on the goals of the Programme in a recent interview , Prime Minister Dr Harris said: “The ordinary man in St Kitts and Nevis – the poor man – and those who basically have ideas but no backers, could find easy access to financing because the studies show that small businesses create 70 per cent of jobs in the economies, so if we build that we are building the prospects for economic growth. We are empowering more people to stand on their own two feet and we are encouraging enterprise and entrepreneurship.”
The World Bank estimates that the economy of St Kitts and Nevis grew by 4.9 percent in 2015, and 3 percent in 2016. It expects growth above 3 percent for the coming three years. A number of large local businesses have announced record profits in the last two years since the new Team UNITY Administration has taken office. The Country’s GDP per capita is at a historical highest ever and according to Social Security statistics there are more people working in the federation than ever before in the history of the country. PM Harris also revealed in his Monthly Press Conference that there are more people currently working for above the minimum wage than ever before in history.