Young Entrepreneurs from St. Kitts in Finals of Caribbean Business Contest

Basseterre, St. Kitts, Tuesday, 16th April, 2013 – A group of six form students from St. Kitts have pulled off a remarkable achievement in the first stages of a Caribbean business competition that is being organized by the United Nations Development Program and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, OECS.

Executives of SKBC: (Front Row L-R) Nia Francis, Jenee Williams, Adielle Chiverton, Jaleel Grant. Back Row (L-R) Andre Hanley, Dennis McCall, Kai'Jana Henry, Sanal Huggins.
Executives of SKBC: (Front Row L-R) Nia Francis, Jenee Williams, Adielle Chiverton, Jaleel Grant. Back Row (L-R) Andre Hanley, Dennis McCall, Kai’Jana Henry, Sanal Huggins.

These young entrepreneurs are all students of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College, and have established a local marketing agency known as Saint Kitts Business Connections, (SKBC). Saint Kitts Business Connections is a new start-up marketing company that is being positioned to cater to all businesses irrespective of their size or type. The emphasis will be on corporate branding, advertising, public relations, and social media management and promotions.

Earlier this year, the SKBC entered the Caribbean Innovation Connection (CIC) contest that attracted almost 500 companies from throughout the entire Caribbean. They were the youngest and only business group (and comprised of school children) but competing against adults with far more experience and resources.
However, despite their youthful age, they managed to accomplish a most incredible feat of gaining a place in the finals of the top 20 companies that have been invited to travel to Barbados next week, to participate in the grand finale.

Their selection came after a rigorous selection process involving 493 teams, following which the twenty (20) finalists were selected to go to Bridgetown to showcase their projects and compete for six awards in three categories: Economic, Social, and Environmental. The finalists have been drawn from: Barbados, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Jamaica, Belize and St. Kitts-Nevis.

The Caribbean Innovation Challenge (CIC) is a regional competition and business start-up accelerator program for young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. The CIC is organized and developed by UNDP Barbados and the OECS and the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) as a part of the UNDP project Youth Innovation (Youth-IN): a Caribbean Network for Youth Development.

What has also made this performance by the Kittitian students so outstanding, is that they, as teenagers, were able to compete against, and outshine, over 473 other companies that are managed by adult executives who are much older than them, but failed to make a place in the top group.

“We should emphasize that this is not a competition of and for school children, thus our fellow competitors, though young entrepreneurs are all adults. The average age of our company owners is seventeen (17). We therefore view this accomplishment as a demonstration of academic and business excellence by young people, especially given that five of our eight members are males”, said Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kai’Jana Henry.

In December of last year, Saint Kitts Business Connections was formed and by January the following year the team was registered to be in the competition. The team’s tasks included the completion of a business plan, the creation of a website and promotional videos and the creation of social media pages to gain awareness for the project.

“The Saint Kitts Business Connections team was elated when we heard the news and would like to express gratitude to all those who have assisted us thus far. We are truly happy to have made it to the Finals. We now need the financial support of the people of St. Kitts to ensure that we make it to Barbados,” according to CEO Henry.

“We are now preparing to represent St. Kitts and Nevis, and by extension the young people of the Caribbean but we need more financial assistance and are appealing to local businesses, some of whom we have already written, to come to our aid, in meeting the related expenses for the preparation of our display booth and to travel to Barbados”, explained Henry.

“As a Finalist, we will be required to mount an exhibition booth and present the corporate ideas and samples of our work, to the judges. Though the organizers have assumed financial responsibility for certain event expenses, we are required to meet other related costs. During the past couple weeks we have staged various fundraising initiatives and have been successful in raising some funds but remain in need of further support. It is therefore in light of these obligations that we respectfully request your support”.

The leaders of the business are:
• Kai’Jana Henry- Chief Executive Officer
• Dennis Mc Call Jr – Chief Operation Officer
• Adielle Chiverton – Chief Financial Officer
• Sanal Huggins – Finance Manager
• Andre Hanley – Chief Marketing Officer
• Nia Francis – Marketing Manager
• Jaleel Grant –Chief Technical Officer

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