Among the multitude of barriers to growing businesses, access to finance is a principal challenge faced by Caribbean enterprises. Data from a 2014 firm-level survey by Compete Caribbean show that difficulty in obtaining finance is a leading impediment to doing business, with 30 percent of firms in the region mentioning it as a moderate obstacle and 26 percent citing it as a major or severe obstacle. Few financing options are available for many businesses in the Caribbean, whether they be start-ups or early to mid-stage enterprises. Commercial banking loans are difficult to secure because of the cash flow and collateral requirements of banks. Moreover, the informal nature of many Caribbean companies makes connecting capital supply and demand difficult for commercial banks.
infoDev’s Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC) Access to Finance component aims to develop an innovative access to finance program for growth-oriented Caribbean entrepreneurs. The focus is on building the pipeline of investment-ready enterprises through training and mentoring, as well as strengthening investors’ overall capacity to engage in innovative financing mechanisms, such as angel investing and crowdfunding.