Press Release:- Honourable Bradley Felix, Minister for Commerce, International Trade, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs has lauded the Nation’s Youth for their innovation and resilience despite the trying times created by the COVID 19 pandemic.
Honourable Felix made the comments during an appearance on the Monday night Talk Show, Da Segment with Dhirv & Noah.
Answering a range of questions from the Hosts on the function and performance of his Ministry, the Commerce Minister delved into initiatives that facilitate the growth and expansion of businesses on Island, particularly young entrepreneurs.
One such pathway, is the BOOST Program managed by Invest Saint Lucia.
Recently the Agency held a pitch competition as part of the Program and handed out Sixteen thousand five hundred dollars in cash and prizes to three companies founded and managed by young persons.
Real 3D Printing, owned and managed by Kayode James, emerged the winner and received EC $10,000.
In second place was 3Sixty, founded by Kissia Peter. In third place was Bioganics, managed by Kyle Nicholas.
The Minister revealed that since the launch of the BOOST Program, more than 560 new businesses have been registered. An indication he said, that the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in Saint Lucia.
Government, Honourable Felix added, recognizes and appreciates the energies of the Youth and has in the past four years, provided various avenues to assist their development and nurture their dreams.
Speaking to the work of the Small Business Development Unit, the Minister called on budding entrepreneurs to take advantage of the Services provided.
These include, technical/financial advice as well as the registering of businesses at a fraction of the cost.
At the Saint Lucia Development Bank, Government injected six million euros to assist the small business sector mitigate the impacts of COVID 19.
Honourable Felix reminded that his Ministry is leading the way to all things local through the I Love Saint Lucia campaign which encourages the buying of local goods and services.
Government, he said, has increased its support by purchasing only local produce for the various National Feeding Programs.
Honourable Bradley Felix also informed that the Cabinet of Ministers has expanded the Sectors receiving concessions to include, businesses in ICT, Professional Services, Spa and Wellness and Creative Industries. Government, Minister Felix added, is also developing an Equity Fund that would guarantee access to financing for small businesses.
The policies of the UWP Government he said, “are all about ensuring you can build your capacity as a young entrepreneur so you can learn, grow and progress.”