PEP’s Women in Small Enterprise raising standards of local professionals

Ms Tanyé Jeffers with PEP’s Field Officer Mr Deeno Cumberbatch at her Sakoda Scâpa.

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (June 18, 2013) — USA-trained massage therapist and skincare specialist, Ms Tanyé Jeffers (30), says that the service she offers is in great demand in the Federation, and is thanking the Women in Small Enterprise (WISE), one of the six components of the People Employment Programme (PEP), for coming to her professional assistance.

Operating her business under the name ‘Sakoda Scâpa’ at the Amory Mall on Cayon Street in Basseterre, Ms Jeffers learnt that WISE sought to empower prospective and existing women in small enterprises through the provision of micro-finance grant support of up to $2,500 for enterprise development and through training micro-enterprise management.

“I heard about the programme, I think after I read about it in the newspapers,” notes Ms Jeffers. “I applied because I am a woman in a small business. It was tailored for those set people and so I applied and I was given a grant.”

The People Employment Programme (PEP) has six different components according to Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley. These are Engaging Qualified Interns Project (EQUIP), National Infrastructure Improvement Project (NIIP), Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (STED), Agri-Enterprise Training and Management Project (ATM), Women in Construction Trades (WICT), and Women in Small Enterprise (WISE).

“Women in Small Enterprise (WISE) programme ultimately aims to facilitate the provision of employment opportunities for participants and enable them to contribute to productive socio-economic development,” according to Mr Hanley. “Participants must be nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis, be at least 16 years of age, have an existing small enterprise, and participate in a micro-enterprise training programme.”

Ms Tanyé Jeffers went to Basseterre High School and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College before proceeding to the USA where, in 2008, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in natural health with concentration in massage therapy and skin care. On return home, she was employed at the Ottley’s Plantation Inn.

She notes that after her studies at the CFBC, she briefly worked at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort as a receptionist at the spa, and that is how she got introduced to the industry. About a year ago she opened her own business which she named Sakoda Scâpa. Sakoda, she says, is her second name, while Scâpa is a Romanian word meaning ‘escape’.

Ms Sakoda Scâpa (left) watches with a keen eye as hair braider and PEP intern Ms Deloris Spencer works on a client’s hair.

“My business is a spa,” says Ms Jeffers. “I provide facial massages, waxing, body wraps, body scrubs, hair services and nails. In this present location I just started about a year ago. I was employed at the Ottley’s Plantation Inn, where I still go there occasionally and do massages; I am on call.”

According to Ms Jeffers, the services she offers are needed in the country as there are many persons on the beaches, who are mostly untrained offering massage services to both visitors and locals, while people who are trained are still looking for work.

“Trained professionals need to be getting more work and we have all sorts of other people just saying, ‘oh I do massage’, but they are not really trained in the area,” noted Ms Jeffers. “It kind of brings the professional down in my view, and we should raise the bar as professional massage therapists.”

The grant from WISE came in handy as she was able to obtain professional products from the USA, because in her profession one cannot just use any product to get the same results as a professional product would. It helped her with getting the right products and the right equipment that she would need to give a professional service.

Apart from the grant, Ms Jeffers has also benefitted from the People Employment Programme with the seconding of an intern to her business. The intern, Ms Deloris Spencer, 20, from Cayon is a trained hair braider.

“PEP is a very positive programme out there for women and men alike, like I was in the WISE programme,” observes Ms Jeffers. “Those in the small businesses can get employees to come on in, and help you in areas that you are not trained in, like I am not trained in hair braiding but I got a braider from PEP to enhance my service.”

According to Ms Jeffers, the braider is doing a good job and has assured her that her future at Sakoda Scâpa is secure because when the PEP internship comes to an end, she will offer her (braider) a full time job.

PEP’s Field Officer Mr Deeno Cumberbatch, notes that Ms Jeffers is important to the programme both ways from the side of WISE, where she has benefitted in terms of receiving a boost to her business “and also on the other hand she has, from her business boost, reached the level where she can employ a worker and giving her a job opportunity.”

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