Eighty persons have received between EC$2,500 and EC$40,000 in from the government under an initiative that gives grant funds to entrepreneurs 18 to 40 years old.
The 80 recipients received their Promotion of Youth Microenterprises (PRYME) programme grant certificates at a ceremony in Kingstown on Tuesday.
Because of the physical distancing protocols of COVID-19, a representative group — selected to represent diversify of gender and locations (55 villages in St. Vincent and the Grenadines) — attended the ceremony.
At the event, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves urged the recipients to use the money wisely.
“When we give you a grant, we are saying that we have confidence in you that you will make something of it,” the prime minister said.
“If you blow the money, you’re blowing an opportunity. This is a serious business,” he further stated.
On Tuesday, some EC$600,000 was disbursed to the first batch of recipients, but the government intends to give out some EC$4.85 million under the programme.
Persons can apply for grants to retool or to explore a totally different business venture under the programme, which is being fast tracked because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further, because of COVID-19 pandemic, the government has added a new dimension, PRYME Plus, which will this year see persons older than 40 receiving grants.
“The PRYME programme fully intends to exhaust the $4.85 million that the government has granted them this year which means that for every month between now and the end of the year, we’re going to be giving out again another 600,000 plus dollars on average,” Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves told the ceremony.
Tony Regisford, chair of the PRYME Steering Committee, and Minister of Agriculture, Industry and Labour, Saboto Caesar also addressed the event.
Two persons, Petrus Gumbs, founder of the STEM SVG summer programme and Travis Lynch, who operates multimedia production company, received the maximum EC$40,000 allowed under the programme.