BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 21ST 2013 (CUOPM) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has expressed its continued determination to ensure the empowerment of young people in becoming entrepreneurs.
Speaking during his weekly radio programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday, the St. Kitts and Nevis leader urged local small business owners to take advantage of the Small Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development or SEED programme to secure capital or financing.
“We had no land. We had no capital. Banks and persons of means were committed to blocking any access we might devise to the capital that we would need to move forward, and at any rate, we were systematically denied the basic freedoms that are key to being able to dream and to pursue those dreams – unfettered. The end of slavery supposedly provided some type of theoretical freedom, but we still had no land, we still had no capital, and those who controlled the financial resources of this country still remained just as resolute in ensuring that that capital did not get into our hands,” said Dr. Douglas in noting the country’s history.
He pointed out that with his St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party taking office in July 1995, the government over the past 18 years has been extremely focused in its determination to place land in the hands of ordinary people, on a scale never before seen in the history of this country.
“Everyone in the sound of my voice now knows that thousands of formerly landless Kittitians now own land in this country. And that is a great thing,” said Dr. Douglas.
He reminded listeners of another campaign on which his Government has been just as focused.
“I want to be certain that the people of this country make good use of it – and that Government campaign is the placement of place capital financing into the hands of hardworking, serious nationals who have been attempting to make it on their own as small business people but to whom traditional financial institutions seemed able to say only one thing – No, no, and no,” said Dr. Douglas.
He disclosed that the Government has set out to change that and hoped that the public understands that through the Small Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development or SEED programme, the Government is opening long-closed doors for local entrepreneurs and small business people to secure capital – or financing.
“This is provided by the SIDF and, depending on the project involved, recipients can receive between $5,000 and $100,000 interest free,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
He said the Government is not stopping, however, at simply providing funding as it wants to ensure that real-world skills and techniques that make businesses succeed are, at last, shared with the country’s small business people.
“We are we ensuring that the unexpected makes and pitfalls that often make small businesses fail are pointed out to them, in advance, as well and so the SEED programme involves what we refer to as a boot camp, in order to make sure, as the names suggests, that participants in the SEED programme develop strength, clarity, and resilience as business people,” said Dr. Douglas.
He said the potential business persons “are given first-rate assistance in the preparation of their business plans.
“And they also are brought in direct contact with leading business persons and experts. In other words, they are given every opportunity in terms of both finances and shared expertise to take their place among the businesses that already exist in this country,” said the Prime Minister.