Basseterre, St. Kitts – November 13, 2012 (SIDF) – The St. Kitts and Nevis Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) has implemented a project to assist in creating entrepreneurs and new businesses.  The Small Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development (SEED) project targets individuals with ideas for innovative, commercial ventures that have the potential to become profitable.  The SIDF has committed EC$5,000,000 to the SEED fund to finance start-up businesses by granting loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 at 0% interest rate.  Applications are now being accepted from Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis to participate in the program which commences in Nevis on January 7, 2013.

The SEED program will be implemented in two phases. In the Development Stage, prospective entrepreneurs selected to participate in the program will be enrolled in a compulsory three-week Business Boot Camp where they will receive training in the pre-requisites for establishing and operating a successful business.  Training will be delivered by professionals with expertise in areas such as accounting, marketing, management and customer service. Upon completion of the Business Boot Camp, successful participants will move to the Incubation Stage in which they will receive the funding and support services needed to establish their ventures.  Entrepreneurs will be required to manage their businesses under the guidance of an assigned Business Manager who will set targets, measure performance and oversee the operations. The Incubation Stage will be pre-determined based on the nature of each business, and at the end of this period, entrepreneurs are expected to run their businesses on their own.

The Boot Camp opens on Monday, January 7, 2013 and ends on Friday, January 25, 2013.  Sessions will be conducted Mondays to Fridays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Nevis Co-operative Credit Union (NCCU). Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis who have an innovative business idea are eligible to apply to participate in SEED.  Application forms and brochures are available on the SIDF website (www.sknsidf.org), at the Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) and NCCU.  The deadline for submitting applications is Thursday, December 20, 2012.  Application forms may be emailed to info@sknsidf.org or delivered to the SEDU office.

SEED is another initiative of the SIDF with the objective of diversifying the economy, creating employment and empowering citizens. It is expected that 50 – 100 businesses will be established by the end of the SEED project.  With a mandate to assist in the transformation of the economy, the SIDF will continue to support the efforts of the Federal Government by initiating and funding programs which stimulate commercial activity and empower Nationals to enhance their standard of living.