The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) is partnering with the World Bank Group to bring greater access to finance for Caribbean entrepreneurs and develop the region’s angel investment ecosystem.

LINK-CARIBBEAN aims to stimulate private investment into early-stage enterprises by providing funding products that help entrepreneurs raise capital. The programme will also develop a Regional Angel Investor Network (RAIN Caribbean) which will support the development of an early-stage investment community in the Caribbean.

It is part of the World Bank Group’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC), a seven-year, CAD20 million program funded by the government of Canada that seeks to build a supportive ecosystem for high-growth and sustainable enterprises throughout the Caribbean. It will involve the provision of investment facilitation grants to entrepreneurs as well as non-funding activities to stimulate angel investing and support the development of deal-flow for early-stage investment.

According to Ganesh Rasagam, practice manager for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group, *”This program will serve as a valuable initiative to promising Caribbean start-ups and growth entrepreneurs. It will help unlock much-needed private capital, particularly from business angels and other early-stage investors through investment facilitation grants and related activities such as the training of promising entrepreneurs in effectively raising capital from investors.”*

*“The introduction of LINK-CARIBBEAN, including the development of the Regional Angel Investor Network, represents a new paradigm in the search for more accessible forms of financing for SMEs in the region. It is widely recognised that access to finance is one of the greatest obstacles when growing a business. This initiative will be instrumental in facilitating new and innovative forms of financing for the region’s private sector,”* said Pamela-Coke Hamilton, executive director, Caribbean Export.

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