19 benefit from SEED grants
The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services has awarded grants of $15,000 to successful applicants of the Sowing Empowerment through Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) programme.
The grants were distributed on Wednesday during a ceremony at the Ministry's headquarters at St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.
Speaking during the ceremony, Social Development Minister Cherrie Ann Crichlow-Cockburn said the grants will serve to help individuals start up or expand their own businesses and provide them with the opportunity to be self-sufficient and independent.
The grants, she said, would also serve to reduce dependence on the TT Food Card and other long-term public assistance grants.
She said this is part of the government's overall strategy to reduce poverty and create a more stable economy.
"The government, through the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, remains committed to addressing the welfare of the poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable in our society. We see the SEED programme as an apparatus to address poverty at all levels in our society," she said.
The Minister urged the recipients to make good use of the opportunity and ensure that it leads towards sustainable employment, income generation and an improved quality of life for themselves and their families.
Among those who were awarded grants were persons seeking to establish businesses in fields such as apiculture, agriculture and cosmetology.
Crichlow-Cockburn said the distribution was just one of several more to come in the following weeks. She said many people have been calling the Ministry enquiring whether the SEED programme had been shut down but she assured that this was not the case.
Speaking with reporters following the ceremony, she said the Ministry had received a number of applications to the SEED programme and is working to clear the backlog.
She added that there has not been any significant increase in applications for various grants despite current economic hardships and job losses.
However, she assured that the Ministry will be visiting each constituency to raise awareness on they various types of grants available and how the public can access them.
She said the Ministry has already visited 30 constituencies as part of this drive and that applications for grants are expected to increase as a result.