Charlestown, Nevis (July 4, 2013) — The design of Women in Small Enterprise (WISE), a component of the People Employment Programme (PEP), looks at what is happening in the society with the aim of empowering women in business as they are critical in the development of communities.
The Hon Patrice Nisbett, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour, Justice and Legal Affairs, made the observation on Friday (June 28) at a ceremony where eleven Nevisian women entrepreneurs were awarded grants of amounts ranging from EC$2,000 to EC$4,000 each, as cash injections to their businesses.
“The design of this programme (WISE) has looked at what is happening in our society today, and we realise from the data that our women are very critical in the development of businesses in raising of families, and by extension the development of communities, and we are geared towards facilitating the empowerment of women,” said Hon Nisbett.
According to Hon Nisbett, who is the Federal Parliamentary representative for St. James’ and St Thomas’ (Nevis 11), it had been established that a sizable number of young ladies who were engaged in various business were also the head of households.
The ladies, he observed, are faced with different challenges in terms of access to capital, and access to funding, meaning that they are not in a position to enhance, promote and better develop their businesses or the business ideas that they have.
“And so, it was thought that one of the components to the People Employment Programme would clearly be designed at enhancing the business capabilities of women who are involved in entrepreneurship here in Nevis,” said Hon Nisbett.
“So we are here this morning to hand over to a number of you who made the necessary application and after successfully gone through the processes you were selected to be the beneficiaries and recipients of sums of money that one would expect that you will use in your enterprise in order to grow that business.”
The recipients of the various grants were Ms Lauren Angelica Daniel, Ms Cinetia V.C. Jaffers, Ms Paulette Clarke, Ms Cecile Parry Hobson, Ms Doretta Daniel, Ms Millicent James, Ms Violet Nisbett, Ms Sheila Hanley, Ms Elva Adina Smithen, Ms Marva Griffin, and Ms Sherima Warner.
“I would want that you would use the injection of capital into your business wisely, so that who knows, maybe the businesses that you have as a result of this gesture, maybe it will be able to grow into something; something that becomes a more successful and a more established business in Nevis,” advised Hon Nisbett. “And the more successful you are, and the more established your business become, the more you can depend up on that business as a livelihood.”
He hoped that the entrepreneurs would use the monies wisely and that they would see it as a seed that would help to multiply the goal and the development of their business.
“I would want to take this opportunity to congratulate you as being the first recipients in Nevis of this grant, and on behalf of the Federal Government I want to wish you all the success there is in moving forward and advancing your business development prospects here in Nevis,” concluded Hon Nisbett.
The People Employment Programme (PEP) has six different components according to Project Manager, Mr Geoffrey Hanley, who also attended the function. These are Engaging Qualified Interns Project (EQUIP), National Infrastructure Improvement Project (NIIP), Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (STED), Agri-Enterprise Training and Management Project (ATM), Women in Construction Trades (WICT), and Women in Small Enterprise (WISE).
“Women in Small Enterprise (WISE) programme ultimately aims to facilitate the provision of employment opportunities for participants and enable them to contribute to productive socio-economic development,” according to Mr Hanley. “Participants must be nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis, be at least 16 years of age, have an existing small enterprise, and participate in a micro-enterprise training programme.”
WISE seeks to empower prospective and existing women in small enterprises through the provision of micro-finance grant support of up to $5,000 for enterprise development and through training micro-enterprise management. Of the amounts provided, an entrepreneur is expected to pay back only half of the amount, interest free.
PEP Coordinator for Nevis, Ms Kerlyn Jones, told the recipients of the WISE grants to tell other businesswomen to come to the PEP office, situated at the Morton Building on Main Street Charlestown, and apply as one has to make an application before they could be considered for the grants.