Entrepreneurs Receiving Vital Support

Photo: Mark Bell State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson makes a presentation at an entrepreneurial workshop on December 2 at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston.

Story Highlights

  • Local entrepreneurs are benefitting from a two-day workshop geared towards providing vital training and support services to help them establish viable enterprises and support their growth.
  • The workshop, which began on December 2 at the newly opened Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston, comes under the World Bank’s Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC).
  • EPIC is a seven-year $20 million programme that seeks to build an enabling ecosystem to foster high-growth and sustainable enterprises throughout the Caribbean.

Local entrepreneurs are benefitting from a two-day workshop geared towards providing vital training and support services to help them establish viable enterprises and support their growth.

The workshop, which began on December 2 at the newly opened Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston, comes under the World Bank’s Entrepreneurship Programme for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC).

It is being carried out by InfoDev, a division of the World Bank that supports entrepreneurship and innovation around the world, with funding from the Government of Canada.

The region-wide initiative aims to deliver value-added services to strengthen the Caribbean entrepreneurship ecosystem by enhancing the capacity of business enablers and angel investors or financiers, as well as increase the number of investable growth-oriented entrepreneurs.

During his presentation to entrepreneurs and industry stakeholders, State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, said that EPIC is providing entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to become viable.

He said that facilitating entrepreneurship is critical in enabling the countries of the region to achieve sustainable growth and development.

Practice Manager of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit of the World Bank Group, Ganesh Rasagam, pointed out that EPIC seeks to support youth employment, particularly among female entrepreneurs.

“It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t support any other entrepreneurs but that is the focus. We provide support in three areas: climate technology innovation, digital technology innovation such as mobile applications, and supporting women-owned businesses,” he said.

The assistance provided includes networking them with people from other parts of the world; coaching, mentoring and training, and financial or grant support to develop the ideas into businesses.

Mr. Rasagam said the programme has the capacity to help small and medium-sized enterprises to spur growth in their respective economies and within the region at large.

“Some of these businesses…they will create jobs and export to the region and global markets bringing in foreign exchange and create spillover benefits for the economy,” he noted.

For his part, Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation at the Canadian High Commission, Walter Bernyck, noted that emphasis must be placed on increasing the productivity of small and medium-sized businesses.

EPIC is a seven-year $20 million programme that seeks to build an enabling ecosystem to foster high-growth and sustainable enterprises throughout the Caribbean.

Its three-core activity pillars: digital entrepreneurship, climate technology and women-led entrepreneurship are complemented by an access to finance facility for Caribbean entrepreneurs, and a skills upgrading and capacity development programme for all ecosystem stakeholders.

These stakeholders include entrepreneurs, incubation practitioners, policymakers, universities, risk capital financiers, and other private sector partners.

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