Charlestown, Nevis, November 28, 2017 (DBSKN) — The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, though a small country, has a robust and growing economy that has largely been fuelled by the ingenuity of its people, government’s continued support to young businesspersons, and the unique part played by the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN).
This growth has seen a change in the dynamics of how business is done. The days when nearly over seventy five per cent of vehicles were owned by people living in the towns are long gone. There are now more vehicle owners in the rural areas than those in the highly urbanised areas.
After seeing the rapid growth in car ownership in the rural areas to the extent where even parking became a problem, a young entrepreneur who actually lives in Basseterre decided to address the needs of those in the rural Newton Ground and came up with the idea of bringing services needed by vehicle-owners right to their door steps.
Mr Al-Wali Muhammad, 38, had a dream and to actualise his dream he partnered with the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, the bank that truly makes a sustained positive difference in people’s lives. Because of that simple business partnership, an enterprise by the name of Best Choice Auto SKN is thriving in rural Newton Ground.
“We provide tyre sales and repairs, and we also offer transmission fluids for vehicles, and if you need any spare parts we can also order the spare parts for you,” explained Mr Muhammad. “The idea of bringing this business to the country in particular is because we have a lot of vehicles in the country and we also have a lot of bus drivers plying the country routes.”
Mr Muhammad, who is also a certified yoga instructor, knew that he would need capital to get off the ground. He approached the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis when he learnt that the bank had a special loan package under its Fresh Start Programme for budding and existing businesspersons.
“I got in touch with someone at the Development Bank and they told me, yes the Fresh Start Programme is on track again and so I decided to put my proposal together and I submitted it to the bank,” said Mr Muhammad.
“The process was very much interactive and the bank provided a lot of oversight in terms of what to do, what not to do in terms of the business proposal, what to add, what to minus and so on. So they were very instrumental in assisting me with the business proposal, and as well as the financing to bring this dream to a reality, and so I am grateful for that.”
Best Choice Auto SKN opened its doors to the public in June this year, and according to Mr Muhammad, he has seen much increase in his business patronage over that period as more people get to know that they no longer need to travel to Basseterre to get car accessories that he has in stock in his shop.
“Each month we have seen marginal increases in our sales of tyres,” said Mr Muhammad recently when an official of the Development Bank paid him a visit to find out how the business was doing. “That is a good step in the right direction and it shows that the people are answering to the call rather than having to journey all the way to Basseterre to get tyres, and repairs for the tyres as well.”
He told the bank official, Business Support Officer Mr Manasses Huggins, that he has developed a good relationship with his costumers who now feel comfortable enough to sometimes call him as early as 6 o’clock in the morning and sometimes past 6 o’clock in the evening.
“We try to make ourselves available to the demands of the sector and provide services during those times,” Mr Muhammad informed the bank official.
According to Mr Huggins, Development Bank’s Fresh Start Programme is living up to its name, giving a fresh start to existing and new small and medium businesses in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
“Some of the people who have benefitted were starting new businesses and Mr Muhammad was one of them,” said Mr Huggins. “We at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis look at the potential of the businesses our clients are bringing to us for consideration.”
Business Support Officer Huggins noted: “Mr Muhammad has shown that the Federation is on its way to becoming a smart economy where one does not have to travel long distances to get what they require. His business has not only benefitted vehicle owners in the Newton Ground area, but it has offered job opportunities to three persons and that is what the Fresh Start Programme is all about – giving a fresh start all around.”