Charlestown, Nevis (December 6, 2013) — Forty Nevisian businesswomen are the latest beneficiaries of the Women in Small Enterprise (WISE) programme, a component of the Federal Government’s People Employment Programme (PEP) that has funding from the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF).
The Hon Patrice Nisbett, Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security, Labour, Justice and Legal Affairs, who is also the Federal Parliamentary Representative for Nevis 11, was in Nevis on Thursday December 5 where he presented grant cheques to the beneficiaries at the PEP office in Charlestown.
“I would want to commend SIDF,” said the Hon Nisbett. “You know there was a famous calypso during Culturama about ‘they need the SIDF money’, but … this (WISE grant cheques presentation) has been made possible as a result of the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF). So when people ask about the SIDF in Nevis, I would hope that you can say, ‘the SIDF has assisted me in the growth and development of my business’.
“I would say that the SIDF has formed firm roots within the economy of Nevis because we have the People Employment Programme, we have the STED Programme, we have the SEED Programme, and we have the WISE Programme. These are all programmes funded by the SIDF and are programmes that the people of Nevis are a part of.”
Thanking the SIDF for the contribution it is making to the growth and development of businesses in Nevis, Hon Nisbett told the forty beneficiaries that those financial grants are designed to aid with the growth and development of their small businesses.
“This is a very critical and strategic initiative by the Federal Government designed to assist the women of the Federation who are engaged in meaningful business activity,” observed Hon Nisbett.
“I am so happy that the women of Nevis are taking part in this initiative because ever so often initiatives of Federal nature are in fact implemented, but people of Nevis don’t take advantage of those initiatives.”
But in relation to the WISE programme, he said that a number of women were applying for the assistance and cheques have been distributed, Thursday’s event being the third. He hoped that the beneficiaries would use the monies available to further expand their businesses, or even to actualise their ideas and translate them into new businesses in Nevis.
Hon Nisbett noted that the Federal Government had chosen women, as studies had shown that many households in Nevis were headed by women, and it was thus critical that the government empowered the women by ensuring that they have the requisite capital to develop their businesses.
“The WISE programme is designed to put you in a position to be able to better provide for your families, so that your sons and daughters can go to university, they can dress nice and look good and we believe that the way we can achieve this is through our women who are the heads of households in Nevis,” advised Hon Nisbett.
He advised the businesswomen to use the grant funds as seed monies to ensure that their businesses are being developed so that whenever the economy of the country improves they would be able to take advantage of the emerging opportunities that would come as a result of what may happen in the future in the growth and development of the Nevis economy.
“I would want to say I wish you all the best,” concluded Minister Nisbett. “What I want is for successful businesses to develop. Those that are successful already I want you to continue to be successful. Those who are coming new, I want you to learn from the experience of the other experienced businesswomen in Nevis.
“A lot of women are in business and they are successful, and I believe that your success would ensure the continuation of a programme like Women in Small Enterprise development. I wish you all the best in your development activities and I know that the women of Nevis will use these monies wisely for their own personal development and by extension development of your communities and by extension development of the island of Nevis.”
PEP Coordinator in Nevis, Ms Kerlyn Jones reminded the businesswomen that monies received from WISE are 50 percent grants, while the other 50 percent would have to be repaid interest free after a period of one year in affordable weekly or monthly instalments.
According to Ms Jones, who chaired the ceremony’s proceedings, more businesswomen in Nevis had applied for WISE grants and she advised that those applications were being processed for consideration.