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Far-flung businesses face challenges in accessing finance

first_img…as millions in loans, grants approved for sector in 2016While the Small Business Bureau has done significant work in helping small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs transform and develop their operations, they have experienced difficulties in reaching out to those in outlying regions.Gillian edwardsMany small businesses in Guyana continue to benefit tremendously from the support and services provided by the SBB, which facilitated the approval of 56 loans valued at some US$1 million this year.This reflects a major increase from those loans granted in the previous years which stood at 24 and 12 in 2015 and 2014, respectively.These loans are provided by the SBB’s partners, Republic Bank Limited and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) at significantly low interest rates with the maximum being 6 per cent.valrie grantCredit Guarantee Fund Manager of SBB, Gillian Edwards, explained that many loans were centred in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), noting that access to financial lending institutions is a huge problem for those operating in other areas across the country.However, in those regions where active financial institutions are not available, the SBB directs its grant programme there.“If you can’t access a financial institution, the opportunity is opened in terms of the grant component,” Edwards explained during the SBB’s yearend press conference at Island Café on Brickdam, Georgetown.Under the grant scheme, 72 grants were distributed for 2016. Grants given in previous years are 136 in 2015 and 25 in 2014, making the overall value of total grants approved at US$333,232 (G$68.8 million).Edwards explained that based on demand received during 2015 for grants, consideration was given to expand the programme to accommodate 500 approvals instead of the initial 300.However, she lamented that owing to lack of capacity, the SBB will be unable to approve grants for 500 businesses as the programme comes to an end in December 2017.“Based on the time remaining for this extension, a minimum of 160 is expected,” she stated, noting that the SBB is constrained in reaching out to those remote areas.She explained that approvals are based on the submission of business plans which are reviewed, initially evaluated based on site visits and submissions and sanctioned thereafter by the Grant Committee.Further, the SBB provides training for business owners in varying areas. Approximately 2500 persons have been trained to date at a total cost of G$179 million.Training services commenced in 2013 with three providers and 9 additional trainers were signed in July 2016, bringing the total partner training institutions to 12. The demand for this service has increased over the years, with 1353 persons undergoing training in 2016 while only 141 were trained in 2013, 828 in 2014 and 187 in 2015.Edwards highlighted that the work of SBB has impacted the lives of over 735 persons.“A total of 440 jobs and 295 jobs have been sustained and/or created by the credit guarantee and grant interventions respectively to date,” she stated.The SBB is considered a one-stop shop by many young business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs who are uncertain of the procedures in expanding and/or developing their business.Some additional support services offered by the Bureau are assistance with documents required for loan financing, referrals to other agencies, support for launch of products and festivals, market exposure, among others.The SBB was created with the aim of providing incentive regimes and support programmes for small businesses.2017 plansChairperson of SBB, Valrie Grant, underscored the importance of entrepreneurship in Guyana: “Entrepreneurship is one of the most important drivers of job creation and economic growth, and is crucial for the development of a vibrant formal small- and medium-sized (SME) business sector. It enhances productivity growth and can also help find practical business solutions to social and environmental challenges.”Grant noted that many entrepreneurs in Guyana can be classified as “necessity entrepreneurs”, where they are pushed into entrepreneurship because they have no other alternatives for work.This situation she highlighted is reflective of the scarcity of decent wage-labour opportunities in the economy.The SBB chairperson lamented however that despite the importance of entrepreneurship, there does not exist a national entrepreneurship strategy or any direct policy to support entrepreneurship.In this regard, she announced that the Bureau will aim to optimise the regulation environment for entrepreneurs, enhance entrepreneurship education and skills development, facilitate technology exchange and innovation, improve access to finance, and promote awareness and networking.Other plans for 2017 include the implementation of youth friendly programme, capacity building and enhanced staff complement, greater public awareness, celebrating the success of entrepreneurs through a small business awards, hosting an entrepreneurship summit, etc.The SBB is also hoping to partner with more banks next year, and has already commenced the process of re-engaging with IPED and Scotia Bank.last_img read more


Thriving in the PostPageview World

first_img Will Lee: People is fundamentally and foremost a storytelling platform. My persistent focus is making sure the quality of the storytelling is at the highest level. Folio: talked with Lee about his approach, what’s working and why. Lee: We’re in sort of a post-pageview world. There are a lot of different metrics we look at and it depends on what our goals are. Some stories we’re very invested in making sure it’s engaging, so how long do people spend on it and how many share it. Other stories, like on an awards night we want to see as many people come to the site and consume as much content as they possibly can. So it depends. But pageviews is one metric, visits is another, and engagement in 2016 and 2017 is going to be essential. Lee: Like everything else in the world, decisions need to be driven by logic, not magic. There’s a level at which we can be much more crisp in our decisionmaking. We’ve got a great editorial team with great instincts and they do really good work, but it’s a very different world when you can give somebody much deeper and more persistent focus, they’re doing things that really drive audience. And the more we learn about the stories we’re telling, the more we’re able to make them better and sharper and to really give the audience more of what they want. That’s the ultimate purpose and outcome we’re trying to see by using data to drive content. Folio: What are your primary goals now for People.com? Part of the approach here is what we like to call thin slicing, meaning that when we know that there’s a great story and the audience is responding to it, instead of doing just one story and hoping it goes well, we’ll do 15 or 20. But we create as many entry points for reader as possible, because everybody has a slightly different point of entry on a given topic. Folio: How does your approach differ? Lee: There was very little challenge in getting writers and editors to get the new data-driven approach to stories. Our journalists are fiercely competitive and they want to win—and they do. And our brand’s Editorial Director, Jess Cagle (my boss), has been instrumental in driving new initiatives. As far as changing metabolism goes—our spirit animal is the hare, because, as our board member David Bell likes to say—and this is the G-rated version—the tortoise only beats the hare in fairytales.  When we look very carefully at content that performs, it’s actually pretty granular. We have to look at what are the elements and do controlled experiments and literally change very small coefficients within the story to really understand: is it the headline, is it the subject, is it time of day? All of those factors go into how we program. Folio: How is that translating for People.com? Folio: How would you describe your editorial/content mission at People.com?center_img Folio: How has staff been motivated to change to a data-driven content culture? Lee: For me, it’s fundamentally about new storytelling for new audiences and driving new revenue streams. It’s important for us to figure out how to create great content for brands. We’re great storytellers, and brands should want to align with us because we can do that better than any of our competition. From a new audiences perspective, we need to be ubiquitous. Whether it’s with mobile, whether its Snapchat Discover, and the seven other apps and destinations that we’ve never heard of but are being created somewhere right now, we’ll be there. Everyone understands the urgency of what we’re doing, and that we have to be nimble, we have to be agile, and we have to be fast, fast, fast. That’s why our weekly digital win award for is now called the Most Valuable Bunny. What’s been especially helpful here at Time Inc. is that every executive has supported the culture change, and has encouraged us to push the teams to go beyond what they’ve been doing before. Again, we’re a competitive lot, and we understand how crucial it is for us to win. The Internet is full of click bait. What differentiates us is that we are the originator of these stories. We tell the best stories in the most creative way and we have the best journalists on the planet. Folio: What’s your approach to using data? That’s what drives our decisionmaking the next day or next week. When there’s a breaking story, and we’re watching our real-time data, we do adjust on the fly, so it’s obviously looking at things like headlines and the photos we use and all of that gets adjusted on the fly.  Lee: A lot of news organizations and publications can be very binary about how they program based on data. They’ll say like this did really well so let’s do more of it tomorrow. But I don’t think that’s really the case. There are a lot of extrinsic factors that can determine why a story does well. So it’s not so much we’ll do more of it just because it performed well. It’s far more nuanced than that. When we look at things that have been successful or performed well, we want to understand exactly why.   Will Lee has put his stamp on People.com. Since the TMZ and Hollywood Reporter veteran became digital editorial director for People.com and EW.com in October 2014, traffic has exploded. The People Digital Group hit a record 51 million unique visitors in January, and the People/Entertainment Weekly Network was the leader in the entertainment news category for the 10th consecutive month. We don’t just do things to drive audience. People is fundamentally and foremost a storytelling platform. The more we learn about the stories we’re telling the more we’re able to make them better and sharper and to really give the audience more of what they want. That’s the ultimate purpose and outcome we’re trying to see by using data to drive content. We have to be early adopters and execute well on different platforms. From a new storytelling standpoint it’s important for us to figure out what the atomic unit of content is for audiences today. It’s probably not simply an article with a headline and 300 words of text. It could be video, it could be a Snap. There are many, many ways to tell stories and relay news. Whether its Amazon Echo, or the front of your refrigerator or the bathroom mirror those are all places you’re going to consume content, we have to figure out how to tell our stories on all of those surfaces. I’d like to say I’m able to look into the future, but unfortunately the future is upon us.last_img read more


Post Malone Nicki Minaj To Headline Made In America Fest

first_img Post Malone, Nicki Minaj To Headline Made In America Fest News Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia promises a musical blast worthy of wrapping up what looks to be an epic summer of festivalsPhilip MerrillGRAMMYs Jun 4, 2018 – 1:28 pm Need some plans for Labor Day 2018 weekend? Philadelphia’s Made In America fest looks like the place to be, following the announcement of its performer lineup for Sept. 1–2, with Nicki Minaj and Post Malone headlining.As if the headliners weren’t enough enticement, Meek Mill will make his first hometown Philly performance since his release from incarceration. GRAMMY winners joining the fun include Alessia Cara, Diplo, Miguel, and Zedd.Malone collaborator Ty Dolla Sign is also part of the MIA lineup, in addition to GRAMMY nominees 6lack, Fat Joe, and Janelle Monáe. Bloodpop, Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers, and Tokimonsta are just a few of the emerging talents sure to make MIA a fitting finale for summer this Labor Day weekend.Malone’s 2018 album Beerbongs & Bentleys arrived in April and has been breaking streaming records, while Minaj’s new album Queen is expected on June 15. The song “Ball For Me” on Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys features Minaj and was co-written by them with producer Louis Bell.VIP and Tidal pre-sale tickets are available now. Visit the festival’s website for more ticket information.Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? “Talk To GRAMMYs”Read more Facebook Post Malone, Nicki Minaj Headline Made In America post-malone-nicki-minaj-headline-made-america-fest Email Twitter last_img read more


SBI bad loans balloon postmerger provisioning likely to spike

first_imgState Bank of India headquarters in Mumbai on March 14, 2016Reuters fileState Bank of India’s bad loans have ballooned approximately 50 percent in the span of a year and those of its five associate banks by 170 percent.The bank will likely have to increase its provisioning for bad loans — setting aside money to partly cover the non-performing assets (NPAs) following its merger with five subsidiaries.SBI, which had a provisioning coverage ratio of about 59 percent, said that after the merger it will revisit the NPAs and provide accordingly.”Depending on the age of NPAs, we provide provisioning as per the norms. Hundred per cent provisioning is not a practice in the industry,” SBI managing director Dinesh Kumar Khara told IANS.SBI’s gross NPAs in December 2016 were at Rs 1.08 lakh crore, an increase by 48.6 percent from Rs 72,792 crore in the third quarter FY16. The bank’s net NPAs rose by 52.6 percent during the same period.SBI’s five associate banks reported a 172.8 percent increase in gross NPAs at Rs 55,164 crore in December 2016, as compared to Rs 20,218 in the same period in 2015-16. The net NPAs of these rose by 218.7 percent in the same period.The five associate banks with which SBI merged on April 1 were: SBBJ (State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur), SBM (State Bank of Mysore), SBT (State Bank of Travancore), SBP (State Bank of Patiala), and SBH (State Bank of Hyderabad).The Bharatiya Mahila Bank, which is not an SBI subsidiary, was also merged with it on the same day.The combined gross NPAs of SBI and its five associate banks as on December 31, 2016, stood at Rs 1.6 lakh crore or 8.70 percent of the total assets, while the net NPAs were at 5.33 percent.”As far as the corporate books of associate banks are concerned, we started converging the NPA books of corporates from September quarter; so I don’t envisage any surprises on that,” Khara said.The Reserve Bank of India had asked the banks to clean up their balance sheets and had given a deadline of March 31 for asset quality review. Kumar said that SBI has been continuously declaring NPAs; so there will not be any extraordinary rise in the fourth quarter of 2016-17.SBI Managing Director Rajnish Kumar told IANS, “We have been declaring NPAs from time to time. I don’t expect any extraordinary hike in NPAs. The formation of NPAs has slowed, that is the fact, though we are still not out of the woods as of now.”From time to time there are meetings at the level of the government or Indian Banks’ Association to find an acceptable solution as the recognition of NPAs has happened in the last two years, Kumar said.”All have realised the problem and are trying to work together to find a solution that is acceptable to all. NPA problem is (because of) corporates, or rather mid-corporates,” he added.He said that the NPAs would get reduced if the economy grows at a fast pace and profitability of stressed sectors sees an improvement.”For resolution of NPAs, the profitability of corporates should increase. For example, the steel sector has now suddenly started showing up, because there is an improvement in the profit margins. It is because of the pressure on the margins that the debt becomes non-sustainable. But if EBIDTA (earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortisation) margins improve, synergy improves, problem would at least be partly solved,” Kumar said.Khara, however, said that the idea of bad bank could be considered, not as a repository of bad assets, but with the aim to turnaround these assets.”There are some insolvency professionals coming in. But by the time the ecosystem gets created and starts delivering… it is still some time away. That kind of vehicle to identify such assets which can be turned around is needed,” he said.SBI has committees for NPAs depending on the size of the loans. There is also a committee under the bank chairperson which looks after stressed assets worth Rs 500 crore or more. Similarly, there are committees that regularly review NPAs and decide on the future course of action.After the merger, SBI, with a customer base of 450 million, has about a quarter of all outstanding loans of the banking sector.last_img read more


Let us unite to oust BJP from Centre

first_imgKolkata: All India Trinamool Youth Congress president and party’s MP Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday said the Trinamool Congress is ready to go for elections any time and is confident of winning comprehensively.Addressing a public rally at Rash Math in Baruipur as a preparatory meeting for the mega Brigade rally of the party scheduled on January 19, Banerjee said: “You have to ensure that the communal forces cannot rear its ugly head at any booth in South 24-Parganas district. Let us unite to drive them out. We are ready for the elections, be it today, tomorrow or day after tomorrow and we will be giving a befitting reply to them (BJP ) in a manner that they cannot be traced even with a microscope.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeBanerjee reiterated that the Brigade rally will deliver the clarion call to oust the BJP from the Centre in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Drawing similarities between Netaji and Mamata Banerjee, he said the latter’s battle cry “Delhi Chalo” is a reminder of Subhas Bose’s slogan. Abhishek maintained that several national leaders like Arvind Kejriwal, Akhilesh Yadav, Stalin, Shatrughan Sinha, Farooq Abdullah and others will attend the rally to strengthen Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s political fight to show the exit door to the BJP and establish a secular government at the Centre. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call of Achhe Din has proved to be a far cry. The good days will come only when the government at the Centre is toppled. The price of LPG will come down to Rs 500 and the diesel price will be at Rs 50 a litre,” Banerjee said. He also took a dig at the BJP which had planned to bring in leaders from other states in Bengal for political meetings. “They are bringing leaders from Delhi, party workers from ‘agencies’ and decorators from Ranchi and are claiming to win seats in Bengal. Isn’t it ludicrous as their leaders are completely ignorant of the rich culture of the state,” Banerjee said. Abhishek was also critical of the Prime Minister’s huge spending on publicity campaigns. “He had spent more than Rs 10000 crore for publicity but has deprived the country. All the promises made by him have been exercises in futility,” he maintained. Abhishek also took the opportunity to slam the BJP’s plan of Rath Yatra programme in Bengal. “In the name of Rath Yatra, they have brought a 7-star AC luxury bus from Delhi. We have heard of Rath Yatra of Shri Jagannath and Shri Krishna. But in the name of Rath, they will be riding a luxury bus. “They cannot compete with us in terms of development. We have fulfilled the promises that we made before coming to power,” he said.last_img read more


TMobile May Soon Offer Plans Just for Data and Text Messaging

first_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. 1 min read Is it still a phone plan if you don’t make any actual phone calls?T-Mobile’s answer may be yes, if reports of the company coming out with a plan for just data and unlimited texting prove to be true. No minutes for voice calls would be included.Related: Sound Off: Should Distracted Walkers Be Fined or Jailed?Based on a leaked image obtained by TmoNews, the option would roll out sometime today and feature six new “Simple choice” plans aimed at folks who solely use the Internet and texting on their devices.Related: Think Before You PlanRates would start at $20 for 2GB, $35 for 6GB and go all the way up to 22GB for $95. However, the plan does have some limitations since it can only be used for GSM devices or Blackberry-related tech that can use a smartphone rate plan.  Enroll Now for Free March 30, 2016 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more