Are you thinking about a new business venture? You may want to browse the incentives and financing options available…
If you’re thinking about a new business venture or if you’re considering expanding into another area, you should know that Government has enacted several pieces of legislation to encourage investment and provides a number of tax incentives from which you may stand to benefit.
You should also be aware of the existing business support agencies which you can call on for guidance and the financing schemes available to assist you.
To become eligible for these benefits, you may have to register as one of the following:
EXEMPTIONS ON DUTIES AND TAXES
Since 1994, all companies in the manufacturing, agricultural and fishing sectors have been granted a waiver of customs duties and taxes payable on inputs. Eligible inputs include raw materials, machinery, equipment and spares. It does not however include motor vehicles.
Effective November 1, 2008 the Ministry of Finance announced that all imports of raw materials, packaging and equipment used by registered manufacturers would be zero-rated for Value Added Tax (VAT) purposes.
Small Business Development Act
Duty-free concessions for small manufacturers are contained in the Small Business Development Act (1999). Approved small businesses are accorded the following benefits:
Fiscal Incentives Act
The Fiscal Incentives (Amendment) Act (2001) provides a maximum 15-year tax holiday to any manufacturer of an approved product, provided that it meets the definition of an enclave enterprise: manufacturing exclusively for export outside of CARICOM; manufacturing approved products containing a specified percentage of local value added; or being highly capital intensive.
Under the Fiscal Incentives Act, such enterprises are classified as follows:
|Group I Enterprise||Local value added is ≥ 50%||15 years|
|Group II Enterprise||Local Value Added is ≥ 25% but < 50%||13 years|
|Group III Enterprise||Local Value Added is ≥ 10% but < 25%||11 years|
|Enclave Enterprise||Enterprise produces exclusively for export to countries outside of CARICOM||15 years|
Such enterprises may import duty-free equipment, spare parts, and raw materials from outside CARICOM. Exemptions from VAT are also available to approved enterprises. Dividends and other distributions to shareholders during the tax holiday are also exempt from the payment of income tax. Non-resident shareholders liable to tax in their country of residence are subject to Barbados withholding tax at a lower rate. To qualify for these incentives, the enterprise must apply to the Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development.
The Fiscal Incentives (Amendment) Act, 2007 provides for a five-year extension of benefits contingent upon new investment by an approved enterprise or the provision of a new regime of benefits based on the production of new products. To qualify for the five year extension, the approved enterprise, under Section 11A of the Act, must have invested in a equipment or technology or innovation methods of production and management amounting to $1 million or more during a three year period prior to application for the extension. To qualify for the new regime of benefits (up to 15 years) the approved enterprise, under Section 11B of the Act, must prove that it intends to manufacture or is engaged in the manufacture of a new product that qualifies for approval.
An approved enterprise whose period of tax holiday has expired on or before the commencement of the Amended Act is still eligible to apply for an additional five-year tax holiday, where the enterprise meets the requirements set out in Section 11A or 11B of the Act.
Enterprises not obtaining benefits under the Fiscal Incentives Act and generating export profits (other than from exports within CARICOM) may receive an Export Allowance under the Income Tax Act, expressed as a rebate of corporation tax (between 35-93%) on profits. The maximum rebate of 93% applies if more than 81% of an enterprise's profits result from extra-regional exports. Enterprises are entitled to a rebate of Corporation Tax on profits as follows:
|Export Profits as a % of total profits||Rebate of Income Tax as a % of income tax on export profits|
|Up to 20||35|
|81 and up||93|
The Export Development Allowance permits a company to deduct from taxable income an additional 50% of what the company spends in developing export markets outside CARICOM.
Manufacturing businesses may also qualify for an investment allowance of 20% on plant machinery which is new or imported into Barbados for the first time. Businesses entitled to the export allowance may claim a 40% investment allowance instead of the usual initial allowance of 20%.
Market Research and Development Allowance
In addition manufacturers are entitled to an allowance of 150% of the expenditure incurred for the purpose of promoting export sales to regions outside of CARICOM or for market research and development. Section 12D of the Income Tax Act sets out the types of expenditure which qualify. It includes salaries and wages, traveling and accommodation, advertising and sales promotion. A certificate must be obtained from the BIDC confirming the person is engaged in the business of export, to substantiate the claim.
International Business Company Act
Manufacturing companies classified as International Business Companies under the International Business Companies Act (1991) are also afforded benefits. Benefits under the Act include:
In addition, international business companies may apply for a guarantee that all or any of the benefits and exemptions in the Act will be valid for 15 years. In order to benefit from these incentives however, companies must apply to the Ministry of Industry, International Business Commerce and Small Business Development for a licence to conduct international business. The licence must be renewed annually. A company classified as an International Business Company must not trade within Barbados.
Special Technical Assistance Programme
This programme seeks to address inherent problems associated with high cost of production, inappropriate technology and management and production systems and other associated problems. This fund, administered by the BIDC, is intended to assist in helping companies to become globally competitive and to improve their level of exports.
Export Credit Insurance Scheme
This Scheme was established to promote and facilitate the growth of Barbados’ manufactured exports. This Scheme provides insurance cover against losses as a result of the non-payment for Barbadian exports by foreign buyers. It offers a number of facilities and is administered by the Central Bank of Barbados.
Enhanced Credit Guarantee Scheme
The Central Bank of Barbados established an Enhanced Credit Guarantee Scheme for enterprises in the foreign exchange earning sectors, under the following terms:
Any credit institution desirous of participating in the Scheme may apply to the Central Bank to do so and, upon approval, provide credit facilities to eligible borrowers.
The borrower may be an individual, partnership, a corporate body, or an association of individuals, and must have the ability to contract loans and other credit facilities. To qualify the borrowers must meet the following criteria:-
Under the scheme:
Export Finance Guarantee Scheme
This Scheme is designed to remove the laborious systems involved in accessing financing for exporters fulfilling the production of goods for export. The Scheme covers both pre and post-shipment costs and evidence of a firm contract or agreement of sale with a foreign buyer is required. This Scheme is offered by the Central Bank of Barbados.
Export Rediscount Facility
The Central Bank has sponsored this facility to assist in the promotion of non-traditional exports from Barbados. The Facility will allow exporters to obtain export finance at minimum cost. All commercial banks operating in Barbados which maintain a reserve account with the Central Bank of Barbados are eligible to participate. All exporters who possess bills receivable for the exportation of non-traditional goods, wholly or partially manufactured in Barbados, are eligible to participate in the Facility. The Central Bank reserves the right to impose discount limits for individual exporters. Only bills with credit periods not in excess of 180 days will be considered for rediscount. Advances against sight bills will be considered upon request.
Barbados Investment Fund
The Barbados Investment Fund (BIF) is a close-ended equity fund administered by the Caribbean Financial Services Corporation (CFSC). The Fund provides equity financing for small and medium sized businesses operating in Barbados and engaged in manufacturing, agro-industry, tourism and several services sub-sectors. The BIF will provide funds for capital costs components, i.e. equipment and real estate as well as working capital support for investee companies. Requests for financing through the BIF should be directed to the CFSC.
Tourism and Manufacturing Guarantee Facility (formerly Small Business Guarantee Scheme)
Effective February 2009, the Central Bank announced a widening of the range of entities eligible for credit guarantees under the Small Business Guarantee Scheme to include medium sized companies in the tourism and manufacturing sectors. Companies with capital of Bds$2 million (formerly $1 million) and companies with gross revenue of Bds$4 million (formerly (Bds$2 million) are now eligible to access the facility. The Central Bank is prepared to guarantee facilities of up to Bds$150 000 for short-term and Bds$300 000 for medium-term use. This does not however apply to past-due debts.
Businesses which make use of the facilities provided under this Scheme could derive substantial benefits, including:
In addition, the Central Bank will guarantee technical assistance loans up to a limit of Bds$50,000 for any one borrower (i.e. within the overall cost of Bds$300,000 for medium term facilities), where such facilities are for the purpose of market or product research, marketing, product costing, promotion, production/plant layout, accounting and/or information systems, staff training, management/entrepreneurial training, business reorganisation/restructuring or any other relevant areas of technical assistance.
A technical assistance grant may be made available to persons who qualify. The criteria for this grant are as follows: -
Industrial Credit Fund Technical Assistance Grant
The Central Bank in February 2009 introduced a Technical Assistance Grant to be administered under the Industrial Credit Fund (ICF).
The objective of the ICF is to contribute to the development of Barbados by stimulating growth of output, employment and foreign exchange earnings of the Barbados economy. To this end, the ICF also provides medium and long-term credit to productive enterprises operating mainly in the private sector.
ICF resources are channelled to beneficiaries through qualified financial intermediaries. These intermediaries are commercial banks and other financial institutions operating in Barbados. Potential beneficiaries must first approach a financial intermediary with a project proposal. The intermediary will in turn submit the proposal to the Industrial Credit Fund.
In addition to the technical assistance grant, the ICF’s resources can be used to finance:
a) Fixed assets (excluding real estate purchases)
b) Working capital (primarily raw material purchases)
Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd. Range of Funds
The Enterprise Growth Fund Ltd. (EGFL) provides Barbadian companies in the productive sector with loan financing, venture capital and technical assistance through a range of funds, including:
Small Hotels Investment Fund
The Small Hotels Investment Fund (SHIF) assists small hotels with marketing, management, procurement of joint services and refurbishment. The SHIF finances projects that clearly demonstrate that they will enhance the financial viability and operational performance of the small hotel sector. The SHIF is restricted to the Small Hotels of Barbados Inc. (SHBI) and its members whose properties comply with the minimum standards established by the European Travel Trade. The maximum funding per application is $5.25 million. While there is no specified minimum for the SHBI, the minimum loan size for SHBI members is $50,000. Loan repayment periods are 10 years or less including a 5 year moratorium on the repayment of interest and principal. Security on loans will generally take the form of a first legal mortgage but the Fund is prepared to take second mortgages in instances where 80% of the market realisation value of the underlying security is adequate to liquidate all prior charges and the Fund' s exposure.
Tourism Loan Fund
The Tourism Loan Fund provides loans for the refurbishing and upgrading of eligible hotels and attractions and/or for the construction of facilities to be used for the purpose of carrying on business in the areas of historical cultural and natural heritage attractions. The Fund provides financing to those entities with seventy-five rooms or less, operating in the accommodation sub-sector and to those operating in or desirous of entering the attractions sub-sector. The maximum loan size is the higher of $4.5 million or 15% of the total capitalisation of the Fund. The minimum loan size is $50,000. Security on loans will generally take the form of a first legal mortgage but the Fund is prepared to take second mortgages in instances where 80% of the market realisation value of the underlying security is adequate to liquidate all prior charges and the Fund's exposure.
Agricultural Development Fund
The Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) provides loan financing to help farming and fishing communities in Barbados become more competitive. The ADF also provides incentives, technical assistance and grants to this sector. To qualify for assistance from the ADF you must be registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and be issued with a Farm Registration Identification Card. You must also be registered with both the VAT Office and National Insurance Scheme and show evidence of compliance. Loan financing is available from $50,000 to $1 million. Security is required, usually in the form of a legal charge over assets acquired with the proceeds of the loan and any other collateral that might be deemed necessary. For loan applications less than $150,000 applicants will be required to submit a completed application form. EGFL will provide assistance in preparing applications to the required standard for loan amounts less than $150,000. For loan applications exceeding $150,000 a comprehensive business plan should be completed and should contain the following information:
Industrial Investment and Employment Fund
The Industrial Investment and Employment Fund (IIEF) provides local manufacturers with loan financing on attractive terms. The IIEF provides financing to limited liability manufacturing companies with 51% of their share capital, owned by Barbadian residents. Such enterprises must demonstrate the potential to add significant value to the Barbadian economy by:
1. Being a net earner/saver of foreign exchange; and/or
2. Generating employment.
Loan financing up to $2 million is provided to help local manufacturers create growth-oriented companies. The minimum loan size is $50,000. Security is required, usually in the form of a legal charge over assets acquired with the proceeds of the loan and any other collateral that might be deemed necessary.
The Innovation Fund provides seed capital and technical expertise to entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas and are in need of funds to commercialise their ideas. The Innovation Fund provides assistance to businesses with an innovative and marketable idea, the project must be majority owned by residents of Barbados and must have the potential to earn or save foreign exchange. Applications are welcomed, but your company must be incorporated to receive funding. Seed capital financing is available from $25,000 to $250,000.
Applicants for EGFL grant financing are required to submit a comprehensive project proposal including details of the project’s contribution to the development of new or expanded export markets and their long-term sustainability; potential foreign exchange earnings; employment creation and project costs. The maximum funding per application has been set at Bds$1 million. Qualifying private companies are required to contribute 20% of the total cost of the project to be financed. That contribution may, in exceptional cases, be waived by the fund’s management committee.
GREEN BUSINESS INCENTIVES
If you ever thought about becoming an innovator or entrepreneur offering environmentally-friendly products, services or renewable energy options, now might be a good time to make a move.
Government has enacted several pieces of legislation to encourage investment in this sector and now provides a number of tax incentives from which you may stand to benefit. These incentives translate not only into substantial cost savings but also encourage sales of “green” products and services by making them more affordable to consumers – that’s good news either way for investors!
Where “green business” is the mainstay of the business itself, incentives are available within the Barbados Income Tax Act. Under Section 12, companies which have incurred capital expenditure in respect of machinery or plant are allowed to claim an initial allowance of 20% of such expenditure. However, certain green business activities may be entitled to an investment allowance. For example, the use of recycled plastics to produce new plastic products by a company could entitle it to claim an investment allowance of 20% of the expenditure incurred in respect of machinery or plant. The benefit of claiming the investment allowance is that unlike the initial allowance, it is not deducted from the cost of the asset for the purposes of determining the annual tax depreciation.
Additionally, for companies manufacturing “green products”, they are allowed to claim an annual allowance of 150% of the capital expenditure for the assets used in the business.
Government has also sought to assist companies keen on engaging environmentally sound practices in their operations. Under Section 12E.10 of the Income Tax Act, companies seeking internationally recognised environmental certification as a testimony of their eco-friendly actions, can now claim a deduction of 150% of the expenditure incurred in an income year for the purpose of acquiring the certification. This extends to ISO 14000 certification for manufacturing firms, the Green Globe programme certification or its equivalent for tourism organisations, and the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification or its equivalent for firms in the building industry. This is intended to alleviate the usually high costs associated with acquiring the standard requirements and to make the certification more affordable to companies, which can in turn use it as a means of promoting their products and services.
Under Section 12C1 of the Income Tax Act, companies are also entitled to a deduction of a maximum of $3 500 in respect of expenses incurred in installing a water storage facility on a commercial building.
Environmental Policy Initiatives
Manufacturing firms are entitled to a 150% tax rebate on attainment of recognized environmental certification such as ISO 14000, the Green Globe Programme or the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) certification.
ALTERNATIVE/RENEWABLE ENERGY INCENTIVES
Renewable energy has been a feature in a number of budgetary proposals in recent years. The Income Tax Amendment Bill as proposed, encompasses the majority of the proposals put forward by Government with respect to renewable energy. Government announced that it will shortly be going to Parliament with the requisite pieces of legislation to lock in the advances proposed with this national alternative energy initiative. These include:
The training is to be provided by an educational or vocational institution that is approved by the Barbados Accreditation Council;
FINANCING FACILITIES FOR GREEN BUSINESS
Financing and technical support for developing sustainable energy solutions may be accessed through Enterprise Growth Fund Limited (EGFL).
Funding is being offered through the Energy Smart Fund, a government led initiative, funded by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to provide support for Energy Efficient (EE) and Renewable Energy (RE) solutions to homeowners and businesses in Barbados. Businesses can apply for either technical assistance grants or low-cost loans.
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME’s) as well as companies owned by government incorporated under the Companies Act and any other organizations acceptable to EGFL, who require funds to implement EE and RE solutions are eligible to benefit from these facilities. However, EGFL and the Project Execution Unit can make exceptions to this ruling on a case by case basis.
An SME is defined as a business incorporated under The Companies Act and approved as a small business in accordance with the Small Business Development Act 1999-23; or one that meets the criteria set out here:
Technical Assistance Grants
Technical assistance grants up to a maximum of BDS$40,000 per business are available to fund pre-investment audits and studies to assess the feasibility of RE and EE solutions. These audits and studies should test the economic, environmental, technical and financial viability of each project, prior to its implementation. Businesses applying for funding through this facility are required to provide counter-part funding in the form of a deposit which is reimbursed in full if the project is implemented or deemed not viable and therefore not implemented.
How To Access Technical Assistance
Businesses wishing to access funding must first:
Terms And Conditions
The terms and conditions for receiving grant funding under the TA Facility are as follows:
Businesses are eligible for below market rate loans to implement EE and RE projects that are financially and technically viable up to a maximum of Bds$1.5 million per applicant. The variable interest rate is currently 3.75% per annum on the reducing balance of the loan which may be repaid over a maximum period of 10 years.
Projects Eligible For Funding
Projects eligible for support under this facility are as follows:
Further information on the Smart Fund may be obtained from the Enterprise Growth Fund Limited website http://www.egfl.bb/
|Name||Ministry||Services Offered||Type of Clients|
|Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation||Agricultural Extension Irrigation|
Food Development and Food Promotion
|Prospective farmers, inclusive of students of Agriculture from the Barbados Community College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic|
|Barbados Business Enterprise Corp. (BBEC) (Partnership between the Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust (CBET), the Government of Barbados and the private sector)||Equity financing|
mentorship programme Funds Administered
Barbados Entrepreneurs’ Venture Capital Fund (BVCF)
Barbados Quick Response Revolving Seed Capital Fund (BQRRSCF)
|Legal entities which have at least 51% Barbadian ownership|
|Barbados Chamber of Commerce (BCCI)||collective lobbying efforts on behalf of members|
participation and assistance in social programmes in which the Chamber is involved
The Management of the Duty Free Scheme
The Duty Free operation at the Grantley Adams International Airport The Certification of Letters of Integrity.
The Certification of letters of Authenticity
The Issuance of Certificates of Origin
The Certification of Tenders
|Members of the BCCI|
|Barbados Coalition of Service Industries||Networking and leveraging of numbers/size|
Project Management Services
Proposal Writing Services
Negotiated discounts for group packages
Discounted and at times FREE sectoral education programs
Training Courses, Workshops and Seminars
Advocacy and Lobbying
Service Association Start Up and Incubation
Business Match Facilitation
Trade Shows and Exhibitions
Trade Promotion Events
Business Information and Advice
Provision of Export Opportunities
Facilitate Regional Linkages
|Providers of services who are members|
|Barbados Investment and Development Corporation||Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development||Innovation support and mentorship|
Incubation and factory space rental
technical assistance and special technical assistance
advisory and business development services
export development and promotion
promotion and assistance to the local crafts sector
design solutions and assistance
outreach programmes for the sector
workshops and seminars on a wide range of topics
information centre and business centre services
|Local entrepreneurs and businesses employing up to 25 persons |
Schools, community groups, cooperatives and other business associations
|Barbados Manufacturers’ Association||relevant information and advice as it relates to exporting to overseas markets.|
Information about the necessary standards, regulations and procedures applicable to products intended for both local and international markets.suitable local or international distribution outlets for products.
monitoring of the various bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that involve Barbados
tailored technical, mentoring and consulting services:
advice and assistance with packaging
group discounts and access to specialised training
assessment, planning, and implementation of custom-made solution to assist producers to be export ready.
|Members of the BMA Micro, small and medium-sized producers|
|Barbados National Cultural Foundation||Ministry of Culture||provision of opportunities for Barbadian artists/artistes to showcase their talents with the end result being an increased demand for local work |
Equipping of the cultural workforce with technological skills and training to excel in their particular art forms
creation of high quality products that will be competitive on the local, regional and international markets
|Barbados Tourism Authority||Ministry of Tourism and International Transport||promotion, assistance and facilitation of the efficient development of tourism |
design and implement suitable marketing strategies for the effective promotion of the tourism industry
provision for adequate and suitable air and sea passenger transport services to and from Barbados
encourage the establishment of amenities and facilities necessary for the proper enjoyment of Barbados as a tourist destination
market intelligence in order to inform the needs of the tourism industry registration, license and classification of tourist accommodation according to the standard of amenities provided
registration and classification of restaurants catering primarily to tourists
|Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT)||To foster the concept of self-employment and the spirit of enterprise in the Nation’s Youth.||Persons aged between 18 and 35 |
Physically challenged applicants with good business ideas
|Caribbean Development Bank||micro credit|
micro, small and medium-sized enterprise development
direct technical assistance (facilitated by consultants)
|Caribbean Export Development Agency||investment|
management and product development
strengthening and enhancing of the capacity of public and private sector Business Support Organisation’s (BSOs)
support for the development of vibrant Caribbean business networks
|Firms in CARIFORUM countries in selected sectors |
Sector associations, trade promotion organisations and investment promotion agencies
|Caribbean Financial Services Corporation (CFSC )||loans and equity financing sourced from international development banks and agencies or other institutions, including commercial banks Funds Administered|
Barbados Investment Fund (BIF)
|Small and medium-sized businesses that have the potential to earn foreign exchange and create jobs|
|Central Bank of Barbados:||medium and long-term credit channelled to beneficiaries through qualified financial intermediaries operating in Barbados and may be used to finance fixed assets acquisition (excluding real estate purchases); working capital (primarily raw material purchases)|
technical assistance Funds Administered
Industrial Credit Fund (ICF)
Barbados Investment Fund
Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small Businesses
Enhanced Credit Guarantee Scheme
Export Credit Insurance Scheme
Export Finance Guarantee Scheme
Export Re-discount Facility
|Productive enterprises operating mainly in the private sector|
|Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Cave Hill School of Business, University of the West Indies||FINPYME Initiatives|
USAID JOBS Project
Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM)
Comprehensive Online Portal for SMEs and Resource Centre
|New and small or medium-sized firms|
|Enterprise Growth Fund Limited:||loans & equity|
debt and equity financing
business advisory services
|Small & medium-sized businesses in the productive sectors|
Small Hotels Investment Fund
Tourism Loan Fund
Agricultural Development Fund
Industrial, Investment and Employment Fund
Export Promotion and Marketing Fund
|FundAccess (Barbados’ Agency for Micro Enterprise Development Ltd)||Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development||loan financing from as little as Bds$ 700 up to Bds$ $100,000|
business development services including:
|Persons with business start-ups or expansion of their small businesses|
|Invest Barbados||Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development||Promoting and landing foreign direct investment|
Providing relevant, timely, current, quality information to investors
Ensuring that the Barbados environment is conducive to foreign direct investment
Developing new investment products
Collaborating with stakeholders to manage the Barbados business brand
|Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade||identification of EPA-related needs and possible sources of development assistance to address those needs.|
development or strengthening Barbados’ regulatory and enabling environment in order to facilitate the exploitation of EPA-related opportunities by the private sector.
organisation of workshops and other interactive sessions to inform economic operators about market access opportunities and how to take advantage of them.
sourcing of funding and various forms of technical assistance to support development and growth in ACP countries.
|Ministry of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development||Administers incentives available under the small Business Development Act, the Fiscal Incentives Act, and the International Business Act.|
Facilitates aspects of importing and exporting
|Small Business Association (SBA)||expanded business opportunities for members |
education and development services
lobbying to ensure an enabling environment for the growth and sustainability of the SME sector
|Micro, small and medium enterprises|
|Small Business Venture Capital Inc. (SBVCI) (Wholly-owned subsidiary company of the Small Business Association)||equity financing for business start-ups and existing enterprises with good prospects|
technical assistance for the incorporation of businesses
|Businesses that are members of the Small Business Association (SBA) |
Small businesses with the objective of achieving maximum long-term capital appreciation
|Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES)||Division of Youth Affairs in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth||“In the Bag” Marketing Service Programme|
Entrepreneurial development training
An Accounting Service
Financial Counselling and Referrals
|Persons aged between 18 and 35|