Posted: Monday, January 31, 2022. 7:57 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: $2.4 million is on the way in matching grant funding for tourism small and medium-sized enterprises, intended to contribute to the growth of the tourism industry through the support of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Minister Anthony Mahler noted in his remarks opening the program today that “Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) represent over 70 percent of our private sector employment and income in Belize and in tourism, they are the backbone of our service industry. MSMEs also provide inclusive growth that leads to a more equitable distribution of wealth.”
The Matching Grant Program intends to provide financial incentives for MSME tourism products that benefit the wider industry and host communities, identifying, developing, and implementing such opportunities for the benefit of stakeholders and further contributing to the economy of which it is already a significant part. The Matching Grant Program has a minimum of $18,000 and a maximum contribution of $60,000. In case the applicant is a tourism association or group of enterprises (minimum four enterprises), the grants will be up to $100,000 (all figures Belize dollars).
The program supports projects by SME in COVID-19 bio-protocols; enhancing, preserving and contributing to the natural capital and mitigation or adaptation of the tourism sector ecosystem; enhancing human capital; introducing technological investment and adoption; investment in market intelligence and promotion; and creating efficiency and critical mass. These may be in the various sub-sectors of Accommodation, Food & Beverage, Adventure Tourism, Transportation, Travel Trade, Events & Conferences, Attractions, Tourism Services, Tourism Education & Training and Other Tourism Related Services.
Additionally, Minister Mahler announced two special projects tied to the program: a Gastronomy Corridor in Belize City to begin our quest to take Belize’s culinary experience to the global stage; and the establishment of two Music Entertainment Studio facilities, which will serve as a catalyst for Belizean artists to refine their art, and a platform for music to take on its merited role as a critical segment in the tourism value chain.
SMEs who wish to express interest must complete and submit the required Expression of Interest Forms for assessment and eligibility. The deadline for this submission is February 21, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. Visit BTB’s Website or Facebook page for more information on the guidelines and eligibility for the Matching Grant Program. Contact the Project Coordinating Unit for more information by email: [email protected] or Whatsapp: 67-GRANT (674-7268).
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