Press Release

Premier's Office
Ministry of Finance
Release Date:
Thursday, 11 June 2020 - 4:46pm

The Government is partnering with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to assist Micro, Small and Medium sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in the food services sector including restaurants, cafés and food vans.

The UNDP’s financial assistance of $40,000 will provide direct assistance to ten food service businesses in the Territory. 

Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie said his Government welcomes the continued support from its regional partner the UNDP and their unwavering financial and technical support to the recovery and development of the BVI is invaluable.

Premier Fahie added, “The organisation is very quick in responding to the crises throughout the region and in our small islands this sort of assistance goes a long way to helping our vibrant small business sector and ultimately the people of Virgin Islands.  I look forward to the successful joint implementation of the programme.” 

The primary objective of the programme is to assist businesses in navigating the negative consequences of COVID-19 by providing them with the resources to incorporate digital services in their business model, improve financial management practices and provide additional cash flow to support operational expenditure.  It complements the national grant programme valued at $6.5 million that has been launched to provide direct assistance to small businesses in the Territory.

The MSME Grant Programme is part of the UNDP’s regional Economic Recovery Programme for COVID-19.  The organisation’s Resident Representative for Barbados and the OECS, Mr. Magdy Martinez-Soliman stated that the UNDP will support the Territory’s Small and Medium sized Enterprises so that they resume their business and service their customers. Part of the assistance he said will be for small businesses to go digital – the way of the future, and he also congratulated the Government on its response and handling of the crisis thus far.

 Mr. Martinez-Soliman said, “The COVID-19 response in the BVI has been a resounding success. The citizenry, the Government, civil society organisations and the private sector have worked together to protect lives and livelihoods. As Premier Fahie recently stated, ‘no one has gone hungry on his watch during this crisis’. Now is the time to reactivate the economy.”

The premature closure of the tourism industry sector and the lockdown of the internal economy has had a significant impact on the revenue stream and viability of these businesses. A recent COVID-19 Impact Business Survey conducted by the Government in April revealed that approximately, 72% of food service businesses in the survey experienced between 61% to 100% reduction in business activity.

This grant programme will be administered through the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Premier’s Office and the Department of Trade, Investment Promotion and Consumer Affairs.  Applications will be available on on June 22 and in the coming days more information will be provided on the programme’s offerings.

The Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to supporting the resurgence of the small business sector in the BVI as part of its Economic Response Plan to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Sheriece T. Smith

Information Officer II 
Dept. of Information & Public Relations 
Telephone: 468- 2740