Trinidad and Tobago Budget 2013-2014- What are the expectations of the young professional and entrepreneur?

While the structure of the Property tax takes headline news today around this year’s Budget, those of us not yet property owners are interested in the other less talked about allocations in our $60 Billion dollar budget. This year, young professionals are more involved and more informed than ever before. We are business owners, degree holders and lifelong learners, and there are specific allocations that we are looking forward to.

Tertiary Education

I’ll start with Tertiary Education allocations. Most, if not all young professionals or “yuppies” understand the value of academic momentum for professional competitiveness. The question is will there be structural changes to tertiary education funding programmes like GATE, and HELP. But also of great importance in recent times, what allocation, if any, will be put in place for development of Distance Learning? Has this Government finally seen the (short term) benefit of grants for international study access?

What about partial funding for International Business Study Tours? The Government has long seen the benefit of Global benchmarking but will they see the benefit to the entrepreneur? Will the government support a weeklong trip to Singapore, for example, so that Entrepreneurs can gain hands-on understanding of business systems currently in place in the international arena?


Economic Diversification

I need to highlight two priorities under the Economic Diversification header: ICT Allocation as well as Allocations for Creative industries, (which I affectionately call the MAFF sectors- Music, Art, Film and Fashion).

With respect to ICT, we’re on the lookout for allocations associated with catalyzing Internet regulations and e-commerce development. Once these frustrations are addressed, we expect an ease in the facilitation of international commerce.

For Creative industries, we accept and appreciate the focus of infrastructure development and education but will there be continued funding for projects like Fashion Week, Film Festivals and exhibitions of any kind? Will NEDCO play a role in boosting local production of creative industry items? How strong a role can we expect?

Entrepreneurial Development

Of course, a major bucket of expectation is greater allocations for entrepreneurial development loans. Will bodies like NEDCO be given increased allocations, and can we expect a skew to any particular industry? If so which industries?

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