SAINT LUCIA (December 13, 2019) – The Saint Lucia Hospitality & Tourism Association’s Tourism Enhancement Fund has strengthened its support for Saint Lucia’s small and medium enterprises through the establishment of an Enterprise Development Fund. The Fund, an initiative of the Tourism Enhancement Fund, is a loan guarantee facility which enables qualifying small businesses to access the capital critical to enhancing their competitiveness and profitability.
This December, the TEF was pleased to present a check to the first beneficiary of this initiative. Funky Fungi is a local, commercially-capable, supplier of mushrooms owned and operated by entrepreneur Alexis William. The company has been able to reliably and consistently provide product to the hospitality sector that is fresher and more affordable than imported mushrooms.
The small, interest free loan, provided through the Fund, will provide much needed financing to the company and allow them to meet their growing demand from the hospitality sector for their mushrooms this winter season.
This newest venture was unveiled at the organization’s Annual General Meeting in August 2019 and is currently focused on supporting existing enterprises which have already been in operation but are seeking a financial injection to better penetrate the tourism and hospitality sector. In the last few months, in an effort to foster partnerships to grow the initiative, the TEF has met with local financial service providers that will assist in the provision of these small loans to the selected entrepreneurs.
“One of the key goals of the TEF’s work program this year is to bolster the Fund’s support of Saint Lucian entrepreneurs”, noted TEF President, Winston Anderson, “We know providing support to local suppliers is widely beneficial. We have seen this through the success of our Virtual Agricultural Clearing House. It is therefore our hope that the support of a company like Funky Fungi will begin to make a dent in Saint Lucia’s large import bill by ensuring that our hotels can consistently be supplied by local suppliers instead of relying on the importation of goods”.