. A number of stakeholders are currently undergoing a three-day Certificate Training for Future Small Business Development Center (SBDC), at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CIC), with the aim of establishing SBDC’s in St. Kitts and Nevis that would facilitate entrepreneurs in the small-medium size sector.
The SBDC is an initiative that was launched by the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2015. The model, as stated by OAS, focuses on one-on-one and long-term assistance to help clients generate sustained economic impact through the establishment of new businesses, new jobs, increases in sales and access to capital; the promotion of a results-oriented culture, as professionals are evaluated in terms of impact generated through client work; and the development of business and trade linkages among the clients of the different centers through tools such as the SBDCGlobal online platform.
Phillip Browne, Director of Industry and Commerce, said that the initiative is quite timely.
“This initiative for us in CARICOM to adapt and adopt the SBDC model approach to the delivery of technical support to our entrepreneurs and the enterprise within the sector is both timely and significant, especially in light of how this interacts and relates to our economic and social development,” said the director. “This in fact comes at a time when our government has mandated to focus much of its resources and overall strategic growth vision on the development of the sector. As such, we would spare no effort in ensuring that the most appropriate and maximum level of support is provided to the sector, as indeed the constituents therein are in fact very important to our existence as a people.”
Renee Penco, OAS Representative and Programme Coordinator, said that the aim of the training is to ensure that persons get a better understanding of SBDC, with a plan to establish it in St. Kitts and Nevis.
“We are hoping that over the course of the next three days that the agencies that are represented here would be able to start thinking about how this model would look in St. Kitts and Nevis [and] what would be the best orientation for this model [in the federation],” she said. “I am hoping that for the next three days we can share, we can learn from the facilitators and at the end of all that start thinking about the SBDC St. Kitts and Nevis.”
The Project is funded by the United States (US) Government through its Permanent Mission to the OAS. So far, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia have all been able to adopt and adapt the US model of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME’s) with an aim to contribute to the development of institutions that support and help increase the competitiveness of MSMEs in the CARICOM region. The SBDC model combines the resources from institutions of higher learning, public and private sectors in order to assist small businesses, contributing to the sustainability of the programme and promoting synergies and efficient use of resources.