Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs, delivers remarks at the opening ceremony for the Small Business Boot Camp hosted by the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration at the GMBC Building in Charlestown on October 19.

CHARLESTOWN, Nevis –- Fifteen participants will benefit from the second Small Business Boot Camp hosted by the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA). The six-week session is designed to empower women to become them economically sound.

During the October 19 boot camp’s opening ceremony Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health and Gender Affairs urged participants to work together after the training exercise is completed.

“Coming out of this boot camp it is very important that you work together,” said Hon. Brandy Williams. “After these sessions participants should be able to form an association in which each person can help each other…It is important that you form that networking, that camaraderie that is necessary to push all of us forward.

“Try not to compete. Look at each other as you are a part of the conveyor belt,” she said. “Each person is a next link. If we keep that link, the conveyor belt will never stop. When we come out of that, there could be a missing link somewhere and it would stop. All of us need to start to work together. Make this group your first working group, your first networking group because it is important that we network.”

A section of the participants attending the opening ceremony of the Small Business Boot Camp.

She congratulated the participants for taking the initial step toward owning their own business.

Mrs. Brandy-Williams encouraged them to learn fast, work hard, keep the communications open, and work together.

“Women’s economic empowerment is the mantra for this department, our ministry for 2020, 2021,” said Mrs. Brandy-Williams. “Going forward, everyone who decided to register for this boot camp is part of those persons who are brilliant, because you have a novel idea in mind and you want to see that idea expand and that is why you are here.”

Mrs. Catherine Forbes, Research and Data Analyst at the Department of Gender Affairs delivers remarks at the Small Business Boot Camp.

Mrs. Catherine Forbes, Research and Data Analyst at the Department of Gender Affairs, said the boot camp targets persons who are already in business and those wishing to start one.

“The boot camp is the brainchild of Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, who saw the need to empower women entrepreneurs,” explained Mrs. Forbes. “Our men are not left out of this venture as Gender Affairs is about empowering both men and women…

“The first segment which is the Market Research will be done from October 19 to 30…The second segment will be in-class lectures and practical work. This will run from November 02-20… The final segment will be done during the week of November 26-30. The participants will give feedback with the aim of further enhancing their business plan,” she said.

Ms. Forbes added that the organisers are hopeful that at the end of the boot camp the participants already in business will be able to improve on their operations and those who will be starting a business will be equipped with the necessary skills to move forward with bringing their idea to reality.

The participants will be exposed to a number of topics: marketing, customer service, financing, financial management, pricing, Social Security, taxation, legal structure of business, labeling and quality standards as required by the Bureau of Standards.

Also present at the ceremony were Mrs. Shelisa Martin-Clarke, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs, who delivered brief remarks; and Mrs. Shermel Johnson, a small business owner, who participated in the first boot camp earlier this year, who gave a testimonial.

Mr. Mario Phillip of the Department of Gender Affairs served as chairman of the ceremony; and Ms. Jeriella Liburd, also of the department gave the vote of thanks.

Another section of participants and facilitators at the opening ceremony.