By Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): New and small businesses in St Kitts and Nevis have an opportunity to benefit from the OECS Techie Business Incubator and Business Accelerator Programs.
The programs offer a range of services geared towards the advancement of businesses through orientation, training, mentoring, coaching, access to financing and seed capital, and networking opportunities.
The OECS Techie Business Incubator and Business Accelerator Programs are entrepreneurship development programmes designed to provide a range of support services to startups with business ideas that will be ready for market in less than three months, mid-career professionals with management experience and entrepreneurial ambitions, as well as, entrepreneurs with existing businesses that have demonstrated growth potential, market presence and who are interested in finding a scalable and repeatable business model.
The Business Accelerator and Incubator programs will focus on Information Communication Technology, technology-based or enabled firms or ventures in Agriculture and Agribusiness, Aquaculture, Culture, and Creative Industries, Green and Blue Economy, Health and Wellness, Information and Communication Technology, Tourism; including Accommodation and Food Services, Manufacturing, Services and Wholesale and Retail.
The second cohort of the Programme will commence in May and will continue for the next seven months. Business Incubator applicants must be a new startup or a small business in operation for less than two years, which offers business products and services that will be ready for market within three months and have identified solutions and are seeking to implement the solutions.
As it relates to the Business Accelerator applicants, the business must be in operation for two years or more. It must have market traction; including existing products or services, customer base, and successful experience in the market. Applicants must also have a management team willing to support the business.
The programme will be delivered online and all applicants are expected to have access to a digital device and a stable internet connection to successfully participate in the program.
At the end of the Programme, there will be a Business Pitch Competition, with the most successful candidate having a chance to win a grant of up to $25,000 US for the Business Accelerator Programme and $12,500 US for the Business Incubator Programme.
On Monday morning (Mar. 28) WINN FM spoke to the Director of Industry and Commerce in the Ministry of International Trade et al and the Director of the Small Business Development Centre, Mr. Phillip Browne who used the opportunity to encourage entrepreneurs to participate in the OECS Techie Training Programme.
“We are actually excited. We are elated to be able to bring this good news to our entrepreneurs and those small business persons so that we can have them participate. We want our small business persons to take advantage of this offer that is now being presented in the form of some training and the possibility of getting funding at the end of the Programme.”
Browne added that grants are not easily available in current times and reiterated that entrepreneurs in the Federation have a great opportunity to get such financial assistance, which first begins with the registration process.
“Get on to the website of the OECS, you will find the programme there; you will find the application procedures. You can go on to the Facebook of the Small Business Development Centre- SBDC St Kitts and you will also find the application procedures there and so we are encouraging you to get involved.”
To apply for assistance from OECS Techie, applications can be made by visiting www.oecstechie.org by clicking Apply Now. Candidates are selected once a three-stage process is completed. The Programme asks applicants to complete a short application form, in order to get an appreciation of the business and submit business information to assess their readiness to participate in the Programme. A 15-minute interview will also be conducted to garner a better understanding of the entrepreneur. The application will be evaluated based on all three areas, with high-scoring candidates being accepted into the Business Incubator and Business Accelerator Programmes.
The second cohort of the Programme is expected to commence in May and the deadline for application is April 14, 2022. For further information or assistance, call the Small Business Development Centre at 467 1203 or 467 1635. The Small Development Business Centre is a unit within Government that provides technical and business support to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Federation.