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Background

The Small Business Support Unit was established on October 15, 2008 to assist micro and small businesses in the financial and technical difficulties experienced in establishment and/or growth. The Unit was then upgraded to the Dominica Employment and Small Business Agency in March 2010 to ensure that funds injected into the micro and small businesses were targeted at the creation of employment, poverty alleviation and the generation of economic growth at a national level. The mission of the Agency has been expanded to include development and implementation of programs for employment generation and job creation.

The policy directive for the National Employment Programme was outlined in the 2013/2014 National Budget Address:

"We recognize the programme of apprenticeship will not always be adequate for transferring the necessary confidence and range of business skills required to successfully enter the world of business. To address this, Government will provide support for a mentoring programme. One part of the programme will see government engage a number of "mentors"; persons with knowledge and experience in business who will guide and impart the 'know how' required for the apprentice to enter the world of business.
The second aspect of the programme will see Government making a contribution toward the cost of the engagement of the persons employed in various fields of agriculture, tourism, or small business. The success of the interventions which were referenced earlier requires the engagement of a cadre of new employees... Both the apprenticeship and mentoring programmes will give priority to persons desirous of entering the areas of business activity related to the products and commodities identified in the targeting investments outlined. An allocation of $7.0 million is made for the mentorship programme."

The Ministry of Employment, Trade, Industry, and Diaspora Affairs will implement a number of programmes under the National Employment Programme. This will include a package of direct employment programs, training, and targeted small business incentives with the capacity for promoting growth, innovation, productivity, and revenue for the business sector.