Development Bank encourages creativity among entrepreneurs

Basseterre St. Kitts (February21, 2012) — The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis encourages creativity among entrepreneurs in the Federation as a way of promoting economic growth. That is according to the head of the bank’s Business Support Unit, Mr Shavon Douglas, who implored small business owners to take advantage of the programmes that the bank offers.

“In regards to the business loans portfolio we try as far as possible to encourage creativity, when it comes to the development of new ideas,” said Mr Douglas. “One of the newer trends in our business environment seeks to speak to green and renewable energy.”

Presenters at the first Community Business Meeting, from left: Mr Charleton Edwards, Mr Philip Browne, the Hon Dr Timothy Harris, Ms Aimee Schattner, Mr Delwayne Delaney and Mr Shavon Douglas.

He observed that under the Development Bank’s European Investment Bank portfolio funding, where a line of credit valued at US$8 million agreement was signed in December 2010, funds have been earmarked for green and renewable energy projects and person who are creative and have ideas in regards to solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy or other creative forms of energy, persons could approach the Development Bank and try to move their ventures forward.

Mr. Douglas made the remarks at the first in the series of community business meetings organised by the National Entrepreneurial Development Division (NEDD)of the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs that was held on Thursday February 16 at the Edgar T. Morris Primary School in Tabernacle.

“The Development Bank is here to help you in every regards, because your business I our business,” remarked Mr. Douglas. “The more successful you become, the more successful it is for the bank. We want to create good sustainable and vibrant businesses, and so I encourage you as you move forward in idea-generation or the actual coming on stream of your business, see us as your friend, your partner and keep us informed as possible so that we can work hand in hand and get your operation off the ground and make it a resounding success.”

The Community Business Meeting, which was coordinated by Mr. Philip Browne, Business Development Officer with the National Entrepreneurial Development Division, and held under the theme ‘Helping Small Businesses Move Forward’, was also addressed by Senior Minister and Minister of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Hon Dr Timothy Harris.

Dr. Harris started by thanking officers of his ministry for planning and holding the meeting whose aim was to introduce to, and to make the public aware, what kinds of support that the NEDD could and was providing to them. He also commended and congratulated the business persons who turned out for the first of the community business meetings.

Mr Shavon Douglas of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis addressing the first Community Business Meeting.

He commented that small businesses need space in the country to do things and sympathized with them saying that it was the large businesses that fight harder for support from government than the small businesses. Accordingly, said the Minister, large businesses in the country were the largest beneficiaries of concessions, as they fight hard to get those things, while small businesses were not aggressive.

“What we need is to have small businesses getting together, having a clear understanding of what is happening out there. As small businesses we have to do certain things for ourselves and let our voices be heard,” pointed out Dr. Harris. He advised that community business meetings were being held for discussions to take place so that the government could hear from them.

Other presentations at the Community Business Meeting were made by the acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Mr. Charleton Edwards; US Peace Corps volunteer Ms Aimee Schattner who gave an overview of NEDD; and Mr Delwayne Delaney, NEDD Project officer who advised on business plan writing.

According to Mr. Philip Browne, the National Entrepreneurial Development Division is the lead executive support agency for domestic investment and home-grown small enterprises. While advising the business operators how, and when, to apply for concessions from government, he stressed that the giving of concessions was an investment in the people by the government.

“This government entity (NEDD) is designed to assist micro, small, and medium-size business owners to develop their ideas, products, services, and business models,” noted Mr. Browne. “NEDD operates by providing extensive technical assistance aimed at modernising and strengthening businesses at the start-up, existing, and expansion stages.”

A section of small business operators at the Community Business Meeting held at Tabernacle.

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