Economic recovery is paramount if Caribbean countries are to rebound from the COVID-19 crisis and in Grenada, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are employing digital solutions to do just that. As part of the UNDP Multi-sectoral Response Framework to help manage the COVID-19 crisis, grant funding was provided to equip and accelerate MSMEs’ transition into digital business processes, identify new ways to reach customers through online means, and support measures to establish national, cross-border and regional logistics pathways where logistical services were weak.

Additionally, the UNDP-initiative, in partnership with the Department of Economic and Technical Cooperation (DETC) within the Ministry of Finance, through its implementing partner the Grenada Investment Development Corporation (GIDC) helped to advance business continuity within MSMEs that facilitate the delivery of goods and services which have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19 and provide technical assistance within selected industries to mitigate against critical disruptions and strengthen national food systems and value chains.

Within the seven weeks after the funding was formalised through a blended ceremony for the UNDP MSME Economic Recovery Grant Programme, the 11 grantees are pushing forward with their businesses despite the pandemic. The event attended by representatives from the Ministry of Finance, GIDC and UNDP reinforced UNDP’s commitment to supporting economic transformation, retooling, reskilling and recovery for MSMEs, and vulnerable populations.

Director of the DETC, Dr. Kelvin George, has expressed his appreciation for the partnership between the Government of Grenada and UNDP in order to respond to the urgent needs of the population, particularly to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic through an appropriate and timely intervention for MSMEs.

Ugo Blanco, Resident Representative a.i. UNDP Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, speaking to the role of digital solutions in the COVID-19 recovery efforts stated, "COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way businesses operate and digital transformation mitigates some of the impacts of lockdowns, curfews and physical distancing restrictions, while allowing businesses to reach previously untapped markets".

Seven of the eleven grants were awarded to female-owned businesses ranging in diversity from small crop farming to eco-jewellery. To date, the businesses have utilised the resources to maintain staff and sustain operations through the purchase of needed supplies.  Some have also begun their transition to a digital model of operation.



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