Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 23, 2022 (Department of Labour): The Department of Labour wishes to express its profound gratitude to the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and to recognize the outstanding contribution to women’s empowerment and development through its aid and collaboration with the Small Enterprise Development Unit, Small Business Development Centre and Ministry of Social Development and Gender Affairs. We are especially mindful of the far-reaching, insightful and impactful contribution to empowering women within our Labour market.
Congratulatory wishes are further expressed to the winners of the Elite Award Competition held on 21st and 22nd November, 2022.
Women entrepreneurs pitched their businesses before a panel of judges who had the challenging task of selecting the top entrepreneurs from a wide selection of businesses. These entrepreneurs have previously been engaged in different forms of theoretical and practical training. The entrepreneurs arriving at this junction were top performers from four (4) cohorts in St Kitts and three (3) in Nevis. The Women Entrepreneurship Empowerment Financial Inclusion Project has harnessed together various components of vocational skills training focusing predominantly on women entrepreneurs who were affected by the COVID- 19 pandemic, and new and or startup businesses. The entrepreneurs were engaged in preparing business plans and initially pitched for a grant of USD 3000.00 to invest in or start their new businesses.
After the initial contending, winners were then assigned to the Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) for Relief Counselling for Micro, Small to Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at the Ministry of International Trade et al. While there, they were placed with experienced business owners who provided counselling. The attachments drew on knowledge from business owners who were in operation ranging from 0-3 years to 3-6 years. Each participant in these cohorts was engaged in training to develop business improvement plans to incorporate the topics of export readiness, innovation, strategic planning, and digitalization. At the end of the training, each successful trainee received USD 3000.00 to invest in their business.
Within the Relief Counselling, there were three cohorts. It is out of these groups that each past winner of the previous grant was given the option to compete willingly in the Elite Award Contest for a final grant that could be used for any purpose. The three cohorts competed with trainees who were grouped with them. Two winners per cohort won the first prize of USD 5630 and the second prize of USD 4300.00.