BASSETERRE, St. Kitts –- Encouraging, promoting, facilitating and assisting the establishment, growth and development of small businesses in the Federation are key roles of the St. Kitts Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), formerly the National Entrepreneurship Development Division (NEDD).

Minister of Trade and Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, said the establishment of the SBDC marks a milestone. He said that NEDD has been upgraded to “a bigger and better business support entity with international connections in the network of the SBDCs all across America.”

“Clearly our intention and commitment as a government is to ensure a better standard of living for our people through the enhancement of a business support delivery programme with affiliation to the international community via the SBDC network,” Minister Grant, said.

The minister noted that the programme is being “adopted and adapted” to meet the realities in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, “as we are aware that circumstances differ from country to country and, as such, the one-size-fits-all concept is not recommended.”

“A progressive step has now been made in transitioning into an upgraded method of technical support of delivery,” Grant, said. “Our focus is on product and human capacity development. This uses an enhanced training and consultation approach with the aim of positively impacting the lives of young and new entrepreneurs and the small business people and ultimately the Federation’s economic fortunes.”

Not only does the programme offer new and enhanced support and training methods, it monitors and tracks economic impact using relevant computer software.

It was noted that the journey started approximately seven years ago when the Ministry of International Trade was afforded the opportunity via sponsorship of the Organization of American States (OAS) to participate in the international SBDC Conference and Convention held in San Diego, Calif.

Renee Penco, SBDC Program Coordinator, stated that St. Kitts and Nevis is now better equipped to provide developmental support to young entrepreneurs and business owners.

“As we enter a new age in our entrepreneurship and business characterized by an increasing reliance on information, technology and innovation,” Ms. Penco explained. “It has become clear that those who provide the support to businesses of this era must be equally innovative, data-driven and entrepreneurial themselves.”

Ms. Penco added that the establishment of the SBDC speaks volumes about the commitment of the government in ensuring better lives for its citizens.

“The launch of the SBDC St. Kitts, the Government of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has signalled in no uncertain terms its commitment to fostering private sector growth,” Ms. Penco concluded. “It also encourages greater participation in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Federation.”