My fellow citizens,
I am delighted to address you on this momentous occasion as we celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week.
During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 165 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activities while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Powered by the Kauffman Foundation, this initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15,000 partner organizations.
More than 10 million people around the world are expected to take part in Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) events, activities and competitions. In the Caribbean many countries including St. Kitts & Nevis, have recognized the importance of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) as an initiative which can celebrate entrepreneurs, promote entrepreneurship and mentor, connect and inspire hundreds of people into entrepreneurial activities or into developing an entrepreneurial mindset. This week in St. Kitts & Nevis, The Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce & Consumer Affairs takes this opportunity to recognize the host of GEW SKN, the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods and key strategic partners which include Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Agriculture, Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College; UWI Open Campus; Development Bank of St. Kitts & Nevis; Chamber of Commerce; Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and Junior Achievement.
As partners working together this week to highlight entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activities in St. Kitts & Nevis, our Ministry will continue to work to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activities which will accelerate growth, job creation and sustainable development in our country.
It is important that we become entrepreneurs and not just employees. The Team Unity continues to support entrepreneurs in the Federation through different mechanisms which are carried out by the small business arm of Government, the National Entrepreneurial Development Division (NEDD).
In 2015 Government assisted 151 entrepreneurs in the area of duty free concession, business plan development, facilitation of workshops and consultations. To date for the year 2016 we have surpassed that total, assisting 163 entrepreneurs in the same vein. We have seen the emergence of innovative businesses in areas such as food and beverage, construction businesses, tourism related entities, new techniques in agriculture and agroprocessing, manufacturing and so much more.
The scope of small businesses that has been positively affected by Government’s fostering in 2016 includes:
Transport- 22 entrepreneurs
Light manufacturing- 15 entrepreneurs
Construction services- 20 entrepreneurs
Food and beverage- 22 entrepreneurs
Sports and entertainment- 15 entrepreneurs
Retailing- 23 entrepreneurs
Agriculture- 19 entrepreneurs
Tourism related services- 17 entrepreneurs
The Government will continue to facilitate and foster the development and growth of the small and medium sized sector through initiatives such as the Fresh Start Program. No doubt in my mind we will continue to see these initiatives bear entrepreneurial fruit as the global economy beckons for greater entrepreneurship activity. To date the Government through the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Fresh Start Program has assisted and approved 243 loans for entrepreneurs. This assistance in the amount of $20 million has further stimulated the small business sector, empower our locals and provide jobs.
As Minister responsible for small business development I will continue to ensure that the voice of this sector is heard and is impactful. Through the National Entrepreneurial Development Division (NEDD) and other strategic partners locally, regionally and internationally we will continue to provide the technical support that is needed for growth and development.
Please be advised of the schedule of events for the upcoming week. These include:
On Monday 14th Developing the Entrepreneurial Mindset (round table discussion)
On Tuesday 15th – Start dem Young: School to Work Transition through Entrepreneurship
Wednesday 16th- Importance of Mentoring
Thursday 17th –Developing Leaders through Entrepreneurship Nevis Friday 18th- Hitting the Market – Focus on High Value Agriculture (trade fair) – Agripreneurs Buzz
And on Saturday 19th GEW Closing Reception
I would like to thank everyone for being engaged and encourage those who are not to become mobilized and inspired. Find a Global Entrepreneurship Week event near you and see how you can benefit, add value or participate. Entrepreneurs are critical to the health of our economy, let us work to improve the ecosystem in which we live and work and strive to help new ones to develop. Let us do this together.
I thank you and God’s Blessings