Retrieving hands

The government granted MOP10.6 million in subsidies via SME and Young Entrepreneur aid schemes in August, 92.4 per cent less than in the previous month
A total of MOP10.6 million (US$1.3 million) in subsidies was granted to young entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during the month of August, according to the most recent information from the Macau Economic Services (DSE). This represented a considerable month-to-month decrease of 92.5 per cent, from the MOP64.6 million disbursed in July. The support is divided into three SME aid schemes and one Young Entrepreneur Aid Scheme. Total loans approved so far this year under all SME and Young Entrepreneur schemes, until end-August, amounted to MOP255.1 million divided between 466 approved applications. Falling down The SME Aid Scheme - which offers interest-free loans of up to MOP600,000 per applicant - awarded only MOP840,000 during the month, a 98.2 per cent month-to-month decrease. In August only two applications were approved for funding under the scheme, with 427 applications having been approved in the first eight months of this year. Meanwhile, the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme granted MOP4 million during the period, divided between four applicants, 61.8 per cent less than in July. The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme for Special Projects did not grant any loans or subsidies last month, having so far this year granted only one, a MOP2 million loan in April to two approved applicants. The largest recipients of the SME schemes were largely grouped in the retail trade sector, with MOP57.5 million attributed in this year so far, while the Construction and Public Works sector saw the second largest contribution, with some MOP42.3 million. Luckier young entrepreneurs On the other hand, in August MOP588,300 more was provided through the Young Entrepreneurs scheme than in July, for a total of MOP5.7 million awarded to three applicants. In the first eight months of the year almost MOP33.2 million in funding was provided through the scheme to 139 applicants. The scheme offers interest-free loans of up to MOP300,000 for applicants aged 21 to 44, with repayment for the loan starting after 18 months. The major recipients of the scheme so far this year were still the retail sector, with 46.5 per cent of the funding, or MOP15.4 million, with the next largest recipient the education, medical services and social assistance sector at MOP3.8 million.