Antigua and Barbuda and the other members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) are set to soon benefit from a project aimed at strengthening the sub region’s microfinance ecosystem.
The project – a partnership between the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Eastern Caribbean Securities Regulatory Commission (ECSRC) – is meant to improve the availability of funding to Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), and to establish equity-based crowdfunding in the Eastern Caribbean.
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money – usually over the internet – from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount.
Equity-based crowdfunding, which is being pursued under this project, allows prospective investors to offer funding to businesses in exchange for shares or an equity stake in these businesses.
According to the CDB, the project is being driven by the needs observed in the sector, with access to finance – particularly in the wake of Covid-19 – still a major impediment to growth for Caribbean MSMEs.
In the first phase, capacity-building sessions will be administered by the ECSRC, starting next month.
The project will also deliver a Crowdfunding Policy Framework, developed by the ECSRC, and a prototype for testing and finetuning.
The 18-month-long project will be funded by the CDB, implemented by the ECSRC, and will culminate with a viable crowdfunding platform being established in the ECCU member countries by 2023.