Good business plan can get local entrepreneurs US$100,000

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 9TH 2012 (CUOPM) – Nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis with a good business plan could get US$100,000 assistance from a partnership between the U.S. State Department and Inter-American Development Bank.

The plan, which is also available to other Caribbean countries, is aimed at promoting jobs and economic growth in the region, and forging partnerships between members of the Caribbean diaspora in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and entrepreneurs in the Caribbean.

The Caribbean Idea Marketplace challenge fund will provide a$100,000 grant to each of the ten best business plans focused on business partnerships in the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

The competition opened in March, and interested entrepreneurs must submit concept ideas by May 30.

Organizers will then select the best concepts and invite those entrepreneurs to submit an actual business proposal.

Each will received $10,000 to help with plan preparation. The Caribbean Idea Marketplace competition was touted Friday at a University of Miami Center for Hemispheric Policy event in Miami.

Marie Gill, president of the Jamaica-USA Chamber in South Florida, called the program “a very exciting opportunity.”

Among the qualifications: the company in the region must have$100,000 in assets, and the diaspora partner must be a legal resident or citizen of the U.S., Canada or the United Kingdom, or have a relevant connection or experience in the Caribbean. Applicants must be interested in expanding an existing business in the Caribbean or establishing a new one.

This is not the first time the U.S. government has launched such an initiative. In 2008, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced that it had set up a $2 million investment fund to assist members of the Haitian diaspora who had a sustainable business plan and were willing to partner with Haiti’s private sector to create jobs.

That fund was known as the Haiti Diaspora Investment Challenge Facility. It has since ended, say USAID officials.

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