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HomeNewsLocal NewsSBDC ensures that SKN entrepreneurs and small businesses remain relevant post-COVID-19

SBDC ensures that SKN entrepreneurs and small businesses remain relevant post-COVID-19

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by Eulana Weekes

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The risk of entrepreneurship was tested by the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic globally, but entrepreneurs and small businesses in St. Kitts and Nevis specifically are making efforts to adjust, adapt and remain relevant now that the country’s COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has, for the past few months, ramped up its effort to ensure that small businesses and entrepreneurs come together in one place to collaborate, sell and market their products through initiatives such as the “Night Small Business Expo” which was held on Tuesday, December 06 and other similar events held previously.

Speaking to SKNVibes at the Night Expo, Mr Phillip Browne, Director at the Small Business Development Center in St. Kitts, said the SBDC plays an essential role in helping small businesses survive post-COVID. Notwithstanding that, the pandemic also brought some positivity regarding entrepreneurship.

“We understand that COVID [-19] would have taken a toll on businesses, the globe over, so what we really want to do is ensure that we find ways to provide the developmental support and the things we can do to make them really succeed post-COVID,” said Browne.

He added, “COVID didn’t do all bad. COVID [forced] some of us into that area of entrepreneurship, that survival mode; and what we are seeing now is that persons who would have pivoted and found ways to survive are now looking at ways to enhance and improve the efforts that they would have started during COVID.”

Whilst some small businesses have returned to normal or near-normal business activity, others continue to endure hardship due to the economy. Browne said the SBDC has been supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs not only in sourcing finances but creating opportunities for business owners to learn how to handle their current position and how to plan for the future.

“We make it a point to tell people very early that we are not financiers, we don’t provide financing, but we lead you by financing, we prepare you for financing and thereafter, we would want to help you to use that financing properly. So, our role really is to ensure that we could influence that financial market. When you present to a financier, be it a commercial bank, a traditional financing fraternity, we would want you to be able to stand up, put your proposal forward and ensure that they understand that you are a viable entity. So, therefore, that’s what we do; try to [help you] develop by way of business plans, by way of port duty concessions and so on and there [are] a number of other management general activities that we would assist with. You would realise I said assist. We don’t do it for you; we do it with you.”

Browne said there has been an increase in the number of small businesses and entrepreneurs approaching the SBDC for assistance.

The SBDC program for St. Kitts and Nevis includes advice to existing small businesses and pre-venture entrepreneurs; assistance with accessing capital; support in creating and improving business plans; marketing and sale opportunities; business administration and financial management support; as well as other essential strategies to ensure business growth, increased production, innovation and profitability.

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