The launch of Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-up Package
A partnership between the Belize Trade and Investment Development Service and the various public utilities, to provide direct support to small business owners and new startups, has resulted in the launch of what is being called a Micro-Enterprise Utility Start-up Package. The initiative is the outcome of continuing dialogue between the public and private sectors, more specifically between B.T.L., B.W.S.L. and Belize Electricity Ltd., to alleviate the cost of establishing a small business. Entrepreneurs would first need to register their companies with BELTRAIDE and provide proof that the business is a newfound venture before qualifying for the package. Advice and steering is being offered by the Small Business Development Center, a department of BELTRAIDE.
Melanie Gideon, Deputy Executive Director, BELTRAIDE
“One of the caveats is that we need you to define yourself as a proper business, so yes, we’d require you, if you’re a bicycle repair person or you make fudge, all these really tiny, beautiful micro-enterprise activities, we require that you register the business name, again [it’s] one step to making you more formal. It’s another step of making you more formal and increases your viability as a fudge maker, bicycle fixer, is the business plan and I think we used the word in our press release as business plan or business concept because we know again that at the micro-level your business idea will not be sophisticated in the initial years. So at BELTRAIDE, you come here, we want to know that you’ve thought about it, even if it is a fudge shop, we want to know that you’ve thought about it. You know what it’s going to be, how you’re going to make your money, who’s going to be your clientele, how you’re going to market it, all of that is important. Where are you going to do it, is it going to be out of your kitchen? That’s fine, but the point is we’re giving you the means to start your business correctly because in three years time that fudge shop could turn into a fudge and black cake shop.”
According to Celina Gill, customer care manager, B.E.L. is assisting in stimulating the country’s growth by lowering the cost of electricity for new businesses. While there are certain benefits to be enjoyed, startup companies are expected to remain in good standing with B.E.L. by honoring the agreements.
Celina Gill, Customer Care Manager, BEL
“The opportunity for us as utility companies to assist micro-enterprises to get off and B.E.L. is proud to be able to support the program that has been launched by BELTRAIDE today. As noted, the access to the essential service whether it be electricity, water, telecommunication is very critical in getting off the ground. It’s a very critical component of getting off the ground so we are very happy to be able to participate in this program. This falls in line with the new mission of B.E.L. which is to provide reliable electricity at the lowest sustainable cost, stimulating national development and improve the quality of life in Belize. So we have prepared a package to offer to the new, prospective business coming through BELTRAIDE and what we’re offering is the connection fee, whether it be what we call a new service, a new installation or moving into an existing location which is an activation fee that would be waived. The deposit that normally comes with those accounts will be waived. Within the first year they are allowed a relocation, in other words we would waive it if they have to move to another place for their business. So that would be waived within the first year. It obviously comes with conditions, good standing, which has been mentioned before.”
The event was held at the O.A.S. conference room in Belize City.