Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister responsible for Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration delivering remarks at the Business Boot Camp on Aug. 12.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis — Eleven women and three men, participated in a six-week Business Boot Camp hosted by the Gender Affairs Division on Nevis and are now better placed to open up and head their own business successfully.

The intensive training session commenced in early July and ended with the official closing ceremony on Aug. 12 at the GMBC Building in Charlestown. Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister with responsibility for Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), in her remarks at the ceremony expressed satisfaction with those who participated and the organisers.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am very proud of you, and I am proud of the workers at the Department of Gender Affairs for seeing this very important initiative to completion. I wish you every success in your business endeavours,” said Hon. Brandy-Williams. “The boot camp was designed to motivate and influence the participants.

“I say ‘inspirational’ because it is obvious that you have been inspired to think bigger, dig deeper and aim higher,” said Mrs. Brandy-Williams. ‘Impactful,’ because of the efforts of your facilitators you have been solidly equipped to engage the business world, touch the lives of others and transform your own life.”

Mrs. Brandy-Williams, who is the brainchild behind the boot camp said, “It was initially geared towards women, however, as the department’s mandate is to enhance the coexistence of both men and women through gender equality, both were invited to participate but women outnumbered the men in the 14-member group.

She underscored the importance of women entrepreneurs and their significance to families and men.

“Female entrepreneurship is of great significance because it empowers a woman enough to conceptualise a business idea, turn that idea into a plan, then make a plan a successful and sustainable business,” said Mrs. Brandy-Williams. “It gives her a sense of purpose and high esteem, as well as it improves the quality of her life and the life of her family members.

“I want to say to you men, it is very important that women are earning. It makes life easier for you the men,” she said. “You bring in 50 percent; they bring 50 percent. That’s all 100 percent. So that’s all the more reason why we have to ensure men and women are a part of this training. This afternoon I want to say congratulations to those of you who would have participated in this very important boot camp. Go out there and make your business work.”

Mrs. Brandy-Williams reminded participants that with their new knowledge, they would be in a better position to access funding through the Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) in the Ministry of Finance.

“Funds are available at SEDU,” explained Mrs. Brandy-Williams. “One of the components of this training is that when you go to SEDU to approach them for a loan, it should make it easier for you to access the loan. This is because you can prove to them that you have a business plan, you have some business idea, and you have the acumen now to start and run your own business…One of the preconditions of securing the loan is that you would have attended this important boot camp.”

During the boot camp, facilitated by Noah Mills, Owner and Managing Director of SEN Consulting; and Mrs. Alexia Pemberton Owner and Managing Director of Business Enhancement Services, participants were taught to write business plans, marketing, finance, customer service, Information Technology (IT), matters related to Social Security, Inland Revenue and Insurance, and Market Research.

Participants included Aldreth Clarke, Alecia Clarke, Michelle Freeman, Fabiola Grant, Chrislin Jeffers, Latoya Jeffers, Michelle Mc Garth, Tasha Parry, Gregory Quailey, Shanice Richards, Kenyata Warner, Alicia Williams, Tricia Williams, and Vessia Daughn Williams.

The Business Boot Camp is the first of two planned in 2020 due to the interest shown. The training for a second batch of applicants will commence soon.