NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – – Premier Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Tourism in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) is encouraging persons to create small tourism-related businesses to create employment and build up the critical industry.
Premier Brantley was at the time delivering remarks at the closing ceremony for the Tourism Small Businesses Workshop 2022, on May 12 at the Malcolm Guishard Recreational Park.
“This is the second year that we’ve had this entrepreneurship workshop and it really clarifies what we have been trying to do as a government which is really to expose our people to entrepreneurial skills, to encourage them to get involved in entrepreneurship. It is very important for me, particularly as we look past the pandemic, to start to see ourselves as business people, as entrepreneurs and to move away from this tradition where everybody who comes out of school is trying to apply someplace for a job. I think you should start to see yourselves as employers, not just employees and if you must be an employee, be an employee for yourself- be self employed.
“I believe that these workshops seek to teach us about innovation, good business practices and it is absolutely essential if tourism is going to grow here on the island that we have the allied services attached to it. Thank you all for a being a part of this. Let us hope that we can continue to work closely together to make tourism the best that it can be because tourism is everybody’s business. Continue to be involved in tourism on the island of Nevis. I wish all of your small businesses success and I hope that you can put what you’ve learned here to good use to earn for yourselves and your families.”
The Minister of Tourism said the NIA continues to demonstrate its commitment to promoting entrepreneurship and assisting those wanting to start their own small businesses. He spoke to the $5 million Entrepreneurship Fund at the Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU). The Fund provides access to low interest financing for start-up businesses of up to $100,000 per applicant.
“Small businesses are the backbone of most economies around the world and it means that every person who has a small business is one less person out there seeking employment, it’s one less person who is somewhat dependent on somebody else. Certainly the government has tried its very best, we have for example the $5 million that we sought to deploy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic for young men under 35 years and for women of any age. I know that some of that funding is still available so if there are folks out there who want to start a business go to SEDU and see whether or not you can qualify.
“I’ve already seen a lot of exciting things, some new businesses popping up offering some very exciting services, for instance people are now doing picnics and things of that nature, things that we never saw before. So I’m inviting you to let your imaginations run wild. Try to find something that no one else is doing, try to find some value added that you can go to the hotels and elsewhere and market what you have and be a success at it.”
The one-day workshop themed “Empowering Small Tourism Businesses”, was a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism and SEDU and formed part of Nevis Exposition month of activities.
The 17 participants heard from four presenters- Ms. Desi Browne (Branding); Ms. Jihan Williams (Intellectual Property Considerations for Entrepreneurs); Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism Mr. John Hanley (Importance of Tourism Standards); and Mrs. Yarayni Morton-Belle (Marketing). The group also learned about Business Planning for Entrepreneurs.
Mr. Hanley congratulated the participants, noting that the Ministry of Tourism is of the view that empowering entrepreneurs through training is very important, as the government continues to partner with small business owners to promote their success.