The government is mulling extending the interest-free loan scheme for local ‘young entrepreneurs’ starting businesses outside the territory, said Macau Economic Services’ director Sou Tim Peng (pictured). The statement was Mr. Sou’s response to legislator Chan Meng Kam’s enquiry published yesterday, in which the official explained this mulled amendment for the Young Entrepreneur Aid Scheme, an interest-free loan programme implemented in August 2013. However, the published statement did not mention any other changes to be made in the Young Entrepreneur Aid Scheme. The scheme, which grants up to MOP300,000 (US$37,574) lays no restrictions on the type of start-up business although only entrepreneurs who are about to start their business or have already established a business for less than two years are eligible. Entrepreneurs eligible for this scheme are defined as local permanent residents aged 18 to 44 years old. The repayment period for the interest-free loan is 8 years. “Aside from actively studying extending the Young Entrepreneur Aid Scheme to Macau youths establishing start-up businesses in the region, we’ll continue to reinforce how we can complement other start-up business support schemes in Mainland China,” Mr. Sou wrote in the reply, noting that the government plans to invite Mainland authorities to explain the Guangdong Free Trade Zone’s policies to local entrepreneurs contemplating starting business there. Business Daily asked Macau Economic Services to clarify which territories the scheme might support outside Macau but had not received a reply by the time the story went to press. In response to Mr. Chan’s enquiry, the Macau Economic Services’ head also pledged to create better conditions for local start-ups and small companies to utilise ground floor shops in the city’s public housing complexes. A move has been made to amend existing laws governing the rental activities for shops in public housing areas, known as No.28/92/M, whereby the government will make changes to the rental policy for tenants and reinforce the Housing Bureau’s monitoring of shop ownership transfers, according to Mr. Sou. The official also noted that of the 56 shops in the Seac Pai Van public housing complex, a major housing site located in Colaone, some 30 shop spaces remain available for lease. The Housing Bureau is currently preparing for a public bid for opening restaurants or retail sales points in six shops in Ip Heng Building, the third phase of the Seac Pai Van housing site, Mr. Sou wrote.