PRESS RELEASE: CHOC BAY, CASTRIES – The Sandals Foundation and The School of Business Entrepreneurs (TSOBE) has equipped another cohort of young business-minded Saint Lucians through its Business Enthusiast (BE) 102 programme.
The initiative, which began in 2014, continues to be a pioneering platform for young people in the island to have direct access to practical and theoretical training that allows them to develop their sense of business from conception to execution.
Some EC$25,000 of capital injection came from the Sandals Foundation in this leg of the programme, which allowed for the successful participation of 28 youth from across the island. The programme began with 35, most of who were from the Castries community.
So far the initiative has reached over 300 young people with over EC$150,000 in aid from the Sandals Foundation.
TSOBE Assistant Coordinator Ronetta Billy said this latest group of young business people stands among the best to have entered the programme.
“I think we are really beginning to see results and a lot of our new trainees are coming in more prepared and eager to learn and absorb as much as they can. The more hungry they are for the knowledge and skills, the more exciting the programme,” Billy said.
The 20-day programme began on September 11 and concluded on October 10, 2017 at the TSOBE headquarters at the Gable Woods Mall.
The group was exposed to subject areas that include personal development and temperament test, posture and presentation, aspire to acquire, social responsibility, business plan practicability and development, conflict resolution and more.
Other areas like advertising, finance, technology, hospitality, and business licensing and registration were delivered by representatives of the Inland Revenue Department, the Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) and the St. Lucia Development Bank (SLDB).
Community service was a mandatory part of the programme and the Holy Family Children’s Home in Ciceron was the lucky recipient of three assorted hamper.
“Overall the program did go well and we are satisfied with the outcome. We are not as happy with how some of the individuals pushed with their business plans, but at the end it definitely had a huge impact on them all. To most of them the program was entirely new and it resulted in a lot of internal transformation for them,” Billy said.
At the end of each Business Enthusiast programme, participants are required to present a business plan in its entirety. From this batch Ms. Asha Louis’ Skye Blue Baby Food took the top honours. Louis presented the plan as a sole proprietorship undertaking. The business looks to make available diced baby food, prepared and packaged using local fruits and vegetables.
“This is actually a business that is going to open, I believe that with all my heart,” Billy said. “We are going to assist with this business in any that we can.”
Louis has earned the necessary funding to register her business and open the relevant bank accounts. Subsequent to that, she will receive additional “float money” to offset initial startup expenses.
“We are extremely pleased with the progress of this programme. TSOBE has proven to be a worthy partner and the youth of Saint Lucia are the most beneficial. With all that has been achieved thus far, we feel confident in the future of this initiative,” said Director of Programs for the Sandals Foundation, Heidi Clarke.