Nearly 70 booths showcased business models and ideas by Saint Lucians at an Entrepreneurship Showcase co-hosted by the Taiwanese Embassy and Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) on Wednesday, October 26, at Derek Walcott Square.
The Entrepreneurship Showcase was held under the Upskilling Academy Jennès Incubator for Start-Up Enterprises and Business Coaching Programme.
The event was a strong demonstration of the vast array of youth entrepreneurial talent, and dovetailed with Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre’s promotion of the Youth Economy.
Businesses showcased at the Entrepreneurship Showcase specialized in the following services: catering/culinary, farming and agro-processing, health and beauty, fashion, childcare, education, information technology, alternative energy, furniture making, and upholstery.
Exhibitors were also allowed to sell their creations, with many patrons making purchases on the day and networking for future sales.
His Excellency Peter Chia-yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, and Mrs. Chen joined Ms. Esther Rigobert, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, in visiting the various booths and interacting with the entrepreneurs.
The exhibitors thanked organizers for giving them the platform to showcase and promote their goods and services. Many of them expressed that it was their first time participating in such an event. At the close of the Entrepreneurship Showcase, Ambassador Chen had some words of encouragement for the exhibitors in his brief remarks.
“As I went around, I could feel your energy, creativity, and passion in introducing your products and business models, and I can tell that you are now becoming more confident and creative entrepreneurs for society and ready for the challenges of the market,” Ambassador Chen said.
Ambassador Chen also explained the rationale for Taiwan investing in youth and women in Saint Lucia, noting that Taiwan is proud to be a supporting partner of Prime Minister Hon. Philip J. Pierre’s vision for the Youth Economy, which forms part of his Prime Ministerial portfolio.
“Today’s achievement is the result of the Technical Assistance for Youth and Women project, which was launched in November last year when the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) signed a Letter of Intent with the Government of Saint Lucia to invest in youth entrepreneurship and boost employment among the younger generation in the Caribbean countries. One of the goals is to upskill the youths and provide resources to incubator, small enterprises and offer business coaching.”
Meanwhile, Ms. Esther Rigobert, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, also offered brief remarks at the event, thanking the Government of Taiwan and other stakeholders for organizing the event.
“What we witnessed here today, I believe, represents the best of our young people in entrepreneurship,” she said. “You have a lot in your favour: youthfulness, vitality, intellectual capability, business acumen, creativity and optimism. For the first time, Saint Lucian youth, you have been given an opportunity to be part of the conversation on the development of a strategy for our country in a very meaningful way, and with direct engagement and participation in the business sector, and with financial and technical support from the Government of Saint Lucia.”
Awards were presented to entrepreneurs who were adjudged for their business pitches. The winners were Abejah Modeste (first place), Marylene Antoine-Smith (second place), and Davis Hippolyte (third place).
Other awards presented were for the following categories:
- Taiwanese Ambassador’s Award for Innovation – Isaac Preventative Maintenance and Rubber Fabrication Company
- Prime Minister’s Award for Best Booth – Bee Supreme Natural Products
The Government of Taiwan will continue to partner with the Government of Saint Lucia on initiatives that redound to enhancing Saint Lucia’s human resource capacity.
SOURCE: Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Saint Lucia. Headline photo: Ambassador and Mrs. Peter Chia-yen Chen, and Ms. Esther Rigobert, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, with the entrepreneurs who won special prizes at the Entrepreneurship