Monday, June 24, 2024

BTB hosts session on Matching Grant Program in San Pedro Town

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A media and stakeholders’ session regarding the Matching Grant Program (MGP) spearheaded by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) took place in San Pedro Town on Wednesday, February 16th. Held at the San Pedro Town Council conference room, the session explained the program’s application process and addressed questions by those in attendance. The MGP aims to assist with much-needed financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Interested entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply via www.belizetourismboard.org by Monday, February 21st.

The program launched on January 31st aims to assist over 100 small and medium enterprises countrywide. The MGP offers grants from $18,000 to $60,000. Of importance is that the grant cannot exceed 60% of the total project value. If the applicant is a tourism association or group a minimum of four enterprises, the grants can be up to $100,000. When applying, applications will need to prove they are a small or medium institution and journey through a vetting process. From January to February, applicants are to submit their projects. In February, applicants will be notified if their project is chosen. Following this step, technical support will be provided, and the application will undergo vetting. The applicant will know if their application was successfully vetted between March and April. The successful submissions will be awarded their respective grant in April. Afterward, the grantees will be monitored and evaluated on how they invest in the grant.

The different types of businesses/ideas the MGP addresses include accommodations, food and beverage, adventure tourism, transportation, travel trade, events and conferences, attractions, tourism services, tourism education and training, and other tourism-related services.

One of the main concerns raised during the session was the online application process asking for information such as the business turnover in recent years. Many indicated that providing this information will be challenging to obtain as the pandemic has altered its earnings. They were told to provide all and any information they have available. The ministry via the vetting team will be considerate to some extent.

Present at the event was also the Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez. He said such a project from the Ministry of Tourism via the BTB is a step in the best direction to help San Pedro and Caye Caulker. The same session was held on La Isla Cariñosa on Tuesday, February 15th.

As the grant campaign ends, small and medium businesses are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. If something is not clear, visit BTB’s website or email [email protected] or visit their Facebook page for more information.

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