By Shari Pollard-Payne
ITC and the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA) organized a bootcamp on ‘Access to Green Finance’ on 22-24 November 2022 in Bridgetown, Barbados. The Bootcamp included workshops and business matchmaking sessions targeting micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from Guyana, Barbados, and Saint Lucia. The workshop aimed to enhance MSMEs’ competitiveness by increasing their knowledge and readiness to access green finance, and resource efficiency and circularity practices with a focus on solar energy adoption.
Access to finance workshop
The first two days of the workshop were led by Access to Finance consultant Christopher McGann and it included a blend of interactive sessions.
On the first day, participants explored the challenges and opportunities of green/sustainable finance and the relevant UN SDG Goals and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria. They also learned about Credit Risk Abatement Facility (CRAF) facilitated by CARICOM Development Fund (CDF)’s financial controller, Wayne Vitalis.
CRAF is a partial credit guarantee facility that provides an incentive for additional lending to MSMEs by financial institutions for renewable energy/energy efficiency initiatives in CARICOM. Lastly, they were introduced to ‘Project Viability and Financing Types’ by Debbie-Anne Jemmott, investment analyst of the Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd.
On the second day, key results of the regional landscape study on access to finance commissioned by the GreenToCompete Hub in the Caribbean was presented, followed by an interactive panel discussion on the risks and opportunities in green financing for MSMEs in the Caribbean with the following expert speakers:
- Barbados Fund Access – Nadia Wilkie, Project Development Officer;
- CIBC First Caribbean International Bank – Ray Ward, Associate – Investment Banking;
- Enterprise Growth Fund – Debbie-Ann Jemmott, Investment Analyst;
- CARICOM Development Fund – Dr Laverne MacFarlane, Senior Economist.
Through this discussion, participants companies were able to gain deeper insight into the available services provided by these institutions and requirements to access funds to implement green projects.
Speed dating and matchmaking
To know more about green financing options, speed dating and matchmaking sessions were organized with financial institutions providing green services and products, such as Barbados Fund Access, Enterprise Growth Fund Limited, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Signia Globe Financial Inc, Republic Bank Barbados Limited, CARICOM Development Fund, and the Bloom Cleantech Cluster of Export Barbados.
Participant companies and financiers discussed opportunities to get access to finance to implement resource-efficient and circular projects and get sustainability certifications since many of the businesses present have been coached by the Hub on these topics.
Visit to solar PV farm
On the last day of the workshop, company representatives visited a solar farm facility to witness firsthand the application of solar PV installed in a sheep farm and learned about its financial viability and sustainability. The visit provided an insight into the range of possibilities of solar farming. The installer also highlighted the type of crops that can be grown on-site and the alternative livelihood (e.g sheep farming) that can possibly be developed in parallel.
Originally published by ITC.
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