CHARLESTOWN: In preparation for a boot camp slated on January 7, several applicants for the Small Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development (SEED) initiative on Nevis were interviewed and selected by a representative from the St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) last week.
The program was officially launched in Nevis on December 21 at the Memorial Square in Charlestown. The SIDF committed EC$5,000,000 to the SEED fund for the provision of loan financing for business ventures from $5,000 to $100,000 at a zero per cent interest rate.
Consultant with the SIDF and Coordinator for the Small Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development project on Nevis, Greg Phillip, said the response to the program was excellent.
“We have had 45 applications and the response was good and we have had more inquiries,” said Phillip. “It was excellent considering that we had a push for one week to promote it. Today interviews are being conducted with an SIDF representative for some of the applicants. Twenty have been chosen so far to go to boot camp on January 7.”
The SEED program is a Federal investment initiative extended to Nevis and developed by the SIDF in an effort to spur an entrepreneurial spirit in the Federation.
It will nurture innovative ideas into viable businesses and assist the local economy by providing needed businesses and management training, financial capital and support services to small enterprises, which would create employment opportunities and increased household disposable income.
At the launch of the SEED initiative, Phillip said the three-week boot camp would be held every afternoon from January 7-25.
“That’s what you are being asked to invest, some time and some effort to be there and to learn. This boot camp is going to teach you all the prerequisites for you to be able to start a business. It’s going to go through a whole lot of different things from the start-up of the business, the legal aspects, what you do at Inland Revenue etc. all the way to how to actually create a business plan and present it.
“After you have presented that business plan, that is how we are going to know exactly who we are going to move on to the incubator stage. That is the stage where you actually, for one full year, have somebody working with you every single day to make sure that you do everything that you need to do to start a business. So, in other words, you don’t have to be someone who is experienced in business because we are going to have experts to help you with that,” said Philip.
Phillip said that the team of experts for the boot camp were drawn from Nevis and has experience in various aspects of business.
“We have a whole lot of people on this team and they are the people who are going to be facilitating the boot camp program,” said Philip. “Every afternoon there will be a few different ones who are actually going to be there to make sure that they impart as much knowledge as possible to you once you are a part of the boot camp.”