From October 1, ‘PRYME Rides’ will be made available to young businesspeople.
The new initiative provides for applicants to the PRYME program and who require a vehicle as part of their business operations, to apply for a vehicle.
Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves, while speaking at the launch of the ‘Shops at Glen’ on September 25 said that since the inception of the PRYME project in 2020, there have been a few applications from individuals requesting the sum of EC$40,000 for the purchase of a vehicle.
“People came, filled out the application form and said that they needed a vehicle because their business needed to be mobile,” Gonsalves said.
The response, however according to Gonsalves has been that there was not enough funding to provide vehicles.
“And then the people get the vehicle and they ‘flossing’ round town and they not doing their business,” he added.
So, the decision was made that they could not provide funding for vehicles, but some of the applicants had some good ideas.
According to Gonsalves, some applicants explained that they wanted a vehicle to be able to move produce because they were involved in the agricultural sector, while others indicated that they wanted something to be able to sell food out of.
“Or I want to do a food delivery service. I am not looking for a ‘BMW’, but my business plan requires me to be mobile,” he said.
“And we said let us try to create a space for some of you who have a business that requires you to be mobile,” Gonsalves continued.
And so, he said that sitting in a warehouse at Ottley Hall were a dozen ‘Tuk Tuk’ three-wheeled vehicles that were given to St Vincent and the Grenadines by a friendly government to be used as ambulances.
But there was no need for such vehicles to be used as ambulances, Gonsalves said, noting that the country was already equipped with good ambulances.
And they decided to go into the warehouse and take out these vehicles and do the relevant repairs on them in order to make them available for the ‘PRYME Rides’ program.
“So, if you have a business that requires you to be mobile, we are going to have about 10 of these for you businesspeople to start with to see whether or not your business can take off and your mobile business can work using these facilities,” Gonsalves said.
Beginning on October 1, the finance minister said that there will be an application window for those businesspeople who want to use a ‘PRYME Ride’ to run their mobile business.
He further stated that PRYME was evolving and that there were lessons learnt from the first wave of applications from which a survey was done for those who received assistance.
And the government was going to put that information to work for the next round of PRYME.
According to Gonsalves, there were a lot of applications submitted two years ago when the program was implemented with over 5,000 applications submitted.
To date, he said that over 1,300 grants have been given out to individuals across the country worth EC$7.5 million and there were still several applicants who they contacted but said that they no longer required the facility.
“So, we are going to open at the end of this year a fresh application period for PRYME and even though people are still getting PRYME, there is going to be a fresh application window just after the PRYME Rides have been given away,” Gonsalves said.
“There will be a fresh application window in 2024 for those who still have dreams that you think PRYME can help you through,” he continued. (DD)