Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2014 Contents AUGUST 2014 • WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COVER STORY | BG5
to the stage where the staff has been trained to "holistically
analyse" the entrepreneur and determine all of the entrepre-
neurial capabilities as well as gaps where NEDCO can provide
support and boost their success.
"We can better assess the area of competence the entre-
preneur is bringing to the table when they come for entre-
preneurial development support. We look at management,
social networking, we look at family support, we look at
financial literacy, we look organisational infrastructure, we
look at their marketing strengths and weaknesses," he said.
He said the conventional way to look at entrepreneurs is
to look at their business plan and do assessment on their cash
flow capability, which will impact positively on the success
rates NEDCO will be experiencing in the future.
"Right now the success rate for those coming to NEDCO
will be 100 per cent on the basis of the type of service we
offer. Not everyone will get a loan, but everyone will get devel-
opment support. So long as you are interested in developing
your business and you are hard working, you are guaranteed
service from NEDCO," he said.
He said what it takes to develop a business is not always
a "$50,000 loan."
NEDCO provides loans up to $500,000.
"To get there, we need viable, functioning, sustainable busi-
nesses that the owners will be able to manage in the long
term. In order to achieve that level of operation, you must
combine financial support, training support, and even men-
torship and guidance. If they meet all the requirements imme-
diately to get the loan request, then certainly, they will get it
right away. We may even ask them to mentor our young entre-
preneurs," he said.
"We attract about 400-500 walk-ins per month. I think
that could be better. We have ten branches and I would like
it to be about 100 per branch a month. If we are doing our
business right and offering the right service, then the word
would spread that NEDCO is doing the right things for entre-
preneurs," he said.
He said the statistics show that most start-ups fail within
"Ninety per cent of start up business operations will fail
before three to four years. That is the statistics worldwide.
Why do they fail? They fail very often because a business
starts up operations, purchases equipment, does some mar-
keting, and launches right into business without setting up
the proper business acumen, without full appreciation for all
the other organisational requirements.
"Very often start up entrepreneurs are very skilled technically,
have experience and they launch into a business without
having an appreciation of the range of requirements that is
required to run a business," he said.
He added that NEDCO is working with staff to ensure they
"hold the hands" of entrepreneurs and will work with them
to grow their business even further.
"We have to ensure that the quality of our portfolio grows
to a higher standard, you can achieve this by holding our
clients hand and not just giving a loan and waiting to see what
happens. Not by doing a loan for a client and only calling
when it is time to pay and only showing interest when they
go into arrears. There is no way to achieve good portfolio
quality like that," he said.
Henry said the role of SMEs in the national economy is
"The economy is made up of big corporations like Petrotrin,
ANSA McAL or Massy. These are essential to the economy.
They provide the opportunities for small, medium and micro
entrepreneurs. Small businesses, like groceries or auto dealers,
provide opportunities for the medium businesses. The economy
functions best with the Government providing the enabling
environment for the large companies to be viable, but also
programmes for the small and micro entrepreneurial devel-
opment. The two sides of the spectrum support each other,"
Henry said the needs of SMEs are different from larger
"Their ability to meet the requirements of commercial banks,
they may not be able to meet them in all cases. We recognise
that, so NEDCO is that institution that has structured its
operations to treat with those entrepreneurs and fill the gap
between a micro entrepreneur and a large business," he said.
He said while NECDO is required to release audited state-
ments, none has been released since 2010.
"There is a lot of work the organisation needs to do to get
to the point where we produce audited accounts regularly and
accurately. The last report released was in 2010. I am crystal
clear in my objective that we must produce audited financial
statements on an annual basis. We need to have a properly
functioning auditing department," he said.
He said they are in the process of "clearing up the backlog"
"Before the end of the fiscal year in September, we want
to be able to have 2011 and 2012 dealt with. As soon as that
is done, we want to complete 2013 audited statements," he
He admits that NEDCO ran into problems in the past.
"The organisation ran into problems with timely and accurate
reporting in a number of areas that may not have been the
best in terms of achieving operational efficiency. We must
now look to see if the organisation has the manpower and
database management packages in order to deliver. In the past,
there were staff turnovers and things were left incomplete,"
Continued from Page 4
SMEs important for economy
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