In its continuing efforts to launch its Business Incubator and Accelerator Programme, Invest Saint Lucia (ISL), undertook a 3-day workshop from Tuesday 8th to Thursday 10th October, 2019, targeted at agencies providing business support services to the local business community.
Invest Saint Lucia’s Project Coordinator Dave Headley explained the purpose of the workshop. “The objective of the workshop was to bring in all the key players and stakeholders within the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, so they can get a better appreciation and understanding of business incubation and acceleration, and how this all ties in into developing a business framework.”
The three-day training delivered key basic knowledge and skills on how to effectively manage business incubators, accelerators and co-working spaces.
Day one covered Incubation, acceleration and coworking models, and best practices. The training session provided the agencies with a better understanding of entrepreneurs, business incubation, acceleration and co-workspace models, the model proposed for Saint Lucia, best practices and success factors.
Day two covered managing incubation, acceleration and coworking under the proposed for Saint Lucia. Areas covered included understanding its purpose; developing and communicating its offerings, understanding key policies, client selection, business support services, management and governance arrangements.
The final day dealt with Ecosystem development, mentoring and the business development process and allowed the agencies to map Saint Lucia Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, develop a Mentor Network and explore how to Develop and Implement a Business Development Plan.
The workshop was facilitated by Thea Chase of CREEDA Projects, who is assisting Invest Saint Lucia in the establishment of the program. She explained the model proposed for Saint Lucia.
“We have been working with Invest Saint Lucia to come up with an implementation plan for a business incubator. The objective of the training that we have been doing over the past three-days is to introduce some of the concepts that are in the proposal plan that we have prepared for ISL. What we have proposed is the start-up of a business incubation and acceleration hub which is a comprehensive set of resources and enterprise platforms that supports startups and existing businesses and helps to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
According to Ms. Chase, “part of the objective and training is to dissect and look at that and what does it mean. What is an incubator, what is an accelerator, and what are the types of programs that are important and recommended to be put in place in Saint Lucia to really build this Entrepreneurial culture that is bridging here? We went through some of these platforms and what does it do? How do you run it? How do you start it? How do you establish selection criteria and the process of doing the selection? How do you govern it? What kind of management needs to be in place in order to run these things.”
The agencies participating in the training spanned a wide cross-section of the network of business support and included organisations as Export Saint Lucia, Bureau of Standards, Export Saint Lucia, National Skills Development Centre (NSDC), SEDU / SBDC, St. Lucia Development Bank, Southern Business Association, Saint Lucia Manufacturing Association and Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.
Participants engaged enthusiastically around the content and in activities. One participant, Peter Philip, Public Relations Officer of the Choiseul Arts and Craft Heritage Tourism Association, explained the value he derived from the training.
“From the three-day workshop what I have learned is how to implement the business incubator process. It is something that we have on a small scale, but this workshop is teaching you how to go on a broader scale. It will help to improve and uplift our level of doing business not only at a level where we can exhibit our work or produce on a local basis, but also to create a broader market avenue for us as well”.
Invest Saint Lucia is well on its way to launching the Business Incubator and Accelerator Programme during the first quarter of 2020.