For many, the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) sponsored Small Entrepreneur, Enterprise Development (SEED) program is a dream come true, and for some, it is a commendable initiative. The chosen 14 and would be beneficiaries of the program, have recorded their appreciation and satisfaction with the implementation of the program on Monday January 7th 2013.

For many, the Sugar Industry Diversification Fund (SIDF) sponsored Small Entrepreneur, Enterprise Development (SEED) program is a dream come true, and for some, it is a commendable initiative.

The chosen 14 and would be beneficiaries of the program, have recorded their appreciation and satisfaction with the implementation of the program on Monday January 7th 2013.

Some EC$M5 has been committed to SEED to provide interest free loans to finance start-up business requiring capital, ranging from EC$5000 to EC$100,000. With the allocation, SIDF expects to create 50 to 100 businesses in St. Kitts and Nevis.

The privileged 14 who were present at a short opening ceremony held at the Nevis Corporative Credit Union’s conference room on Chapel Street, participated in the very first session of a 3 weeks boot camp. They will receive training in the prerequisites for the establishment and operation of a successful business. They will be tutored by a cadre of professionals in the area of marketing, finance, law, accounting and other relevant areas of business.

Upon completion, selected applicants will move on to the second stage where they will have their businesses funded and receive support services depending on their performance in the boot camp.

Some of the chosen 14 impress on the program.

Yahsonn Tafari noted that he has been looking forward to the 3weeks session. “It proposes to give us the basic skills and knowledge that will equip us to do any start-up business and I think it is a very good venture in the sense that we are given the opportunity to get funds to start up a business. This is a dream for any young entrepreneur to get start-up capital for a business. I am anticipating that at the end of this I would be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills that will help me to prepare a proper business plan and I am anticipating that I will be successful at the end so that I could get the funds to get my business forward,” he hopes.

Yejide Parry also revealed her expectation of the boot camp. “What I expect from this workshop is to learn all that there is to learn about starting up a small business and concentrating on the different skills that would be accessed here. I am very excited about it and I can’t wait to get started,” she stated.

Kerry Bartlett expressed his gratitude for the timely and well-needed initiative. “I would like to say thank you for this initiative. Am here, expecting assistance in starting a business, am here to get guidance in setting up a business plan and way forward in starting my business,” he said.

Shervaine Joseph also gave her impression on the program. “Research has shown that 50 percent of businesses fail in the first year and 95 percent fail within five years. Therefore, the boot camp is very essential as it provides participants with the necessary tools and skills needed to successfully start up a business. The SEED program is a very good initiative because there are many persons with good business ideas but no funding and with this program, they can receive interest free loans,” she stated.

Carl Tyson expressed how important SEED is to him. “It is the dream of any young man to start up a business and to receive a loan to do that is a dream come true. I was selected as one of the 14 out of some 50 applicants. I am hoping that I am one of the successful applicants and if am not, am hoping to take away from the three weeks of training, the knowledge that if am not selected, I can find other means of realising my dreams using the skills learnt,” he expresses.

Corporate Affairs Manager of SIDF Mrs. Delicia Bradley-King, who officiated the opening ceremony, indicated that, they are extremely delighted to be implementing the boot camp in Nevis having concluded the boot camps in St. Kitts in November with ‘very pleasing results.’

“We have completed the first phase and are now set to move on to the second phase in St. Kitts,” she informed.

According to her, the SIDF has a mandate to initiate and fund programs, which empower individuals and stimulate the economy and so SEED is designed to achieve those objectives. “We are extremely pleased with the response to the form applicants in Nevis. We received just under 50 applications and that of course is a very clear indication that there is great interest in starting businesses. There is great interest in persons who want to be self-employed and we are of course very happy to facilitate that desire, that move to become an entrepreneur,” she said.

She told the chosen 14 selected applicants to consider themselves quite privileged to have been selected. “You presented yourselves in a manner that indicated to us that you have a business that will be developed or potentially be developed into a creative, innovative and profitable enterprise,” she told the applicants.

She expressed SIDF’s hope that program will be for all the participants, a “life changing experience.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Terrance Crossman CEO, SIDF spoke about the role of SIDF, its involvement and investment in the Federation and what SEED is designed to do. He too expressed his hope that SEED will be transforming and life changing for beneficiaries. Mr. Crossman was of the view that the ceremony signifies a proud moment for all associated with SEED. “As we recognise its potential to transform and positively impact lives, society and our economy.”

He informed that SEED was designed by the SIDF to empower nationals to own businesses, to grow the economy and to create jobs. “It was conceived in keeping with the SIDF’s mission and with the government’s expressed interest in developing a strong small to medium sized enterprise sector. This Primary purpose of SIDF is to provide support to the governments of St. Kitts and Nevis in its effort to diversify the national economy and to maintain economic stability and to support, finance and undertake the development of new and existing industries projects and enterprises,” he educated.

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This article was posted in its entirety as published by SKN Leeward Times.