NEDD provides tools for SMEs to access external markets

Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 30, 2013 (SKNIS): Small and Medium-size Enterprises (SMEs) in St. Kitts and Nevis have access to technical assistance, training and other tools necessary to prepare their businesses to access external markets, due to the increased efforts of the National Entrepreneurship Development Division (NEDD).

This view was expressed by NEDD Business Development Officer Phillip Browne who explained to the St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service that this was one of the key duties of NEDD to not just simply prepare SMEs to function in the Federation but externally as well.

NEDD, which is based at the Ministry of International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, was given promising prospects by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Denzil Douglas in the 2013 Budget Address.

“The Ministry [International Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs] will also continue to play an ever increasing role in supporting Small and Medium-size (SMEs) by improving the technical capacity of the National Entrepreneurship Development Division (NEDD). During this year, NEDD will provide SMEs with an increased level of technical assistance and training in business management and skills development.”

Business Development Officer Browne specified several programmes.

“In collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, we’ve done some hairdressing techniques programmes,” Mr. Browne revealed. “We’ve done customer service delivery and when we say customer service – we mean in a more technical way, in a management manner. In the coming year, we are looking at conducting a training programme on financial management techniques – again sponsored by the Caribbean Development Bank.”

Mr. Browne explained that the training was not limited to the Federation but that several locals such as Wendy Phipps and Leon Natta had attended Train-the-Trainers workshops in Barbados. He said Ms. Phipps has since conducted Customer Service Workshops while Mr. Natta was preparing to undertake several Financial Management sessions with local entrepreneurs.

Community Outreach Programmes were said to be another major activity that would be increased at NEDD.

“We would go into the communities and do these interventions where we speak with potential and existing entrepreneurs and disseminate information as far as management of business is concerned,” Mr. Browne explained.

“How you get access to certain incentives, record-keeping programmes basically, the gambit of business management and entrepreneurship, and we do these programmes throughout the country. We are going to be continuing them throughout the year and we see these interventions as ways in which we can actually help the development of the SME Sector.”

In addition to providing the necessary training so as to attain local, regional and international standards, NEDD also has the role of informing local businesses of available opportunities and procedures to tap into external trade.

“One of the things that we are trying to ensure is the whole matter of access to regional markets and so on, where we can look at export requirements and production requirements and stuff like that and the whole aspect of how trade and trading is conducted within the region,” The Business Development Officer outlined. “So within our division, we do have the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) Unit, that we intend to work with – in terms of how we can get information out there to our entrepreneurs – so that they can understand and be able to participate in regional trade as well.”

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