December 6, 2007

Edward Harris At Large!


In recent weeks a number of programmes were launched to enhance the lives of citizens, especial the youths. There are a few programmes that will make a difference and the Cluster Linked Incubator Model For Business (CLIMB), SME CLUSTER Programme is one such intervention that will bring about fundamental change in the training of persons interested in the field of Entrepreneurship.

CLIMB targets firms in the designated geographic areas and combine them into groups/clusters to receive technical and professional assistance from the OPSR. The asistance package includes * Technological Upgrading * Operational Equipment * Computerised Accounting * Website * Business Incorporation * Capacity Building/training in the following areas: Financial Management, Legal Aspects of Business, Quality Management Systems, Technology Development & E-commerce. The programme aims to * Motivate and support SMEs in developing viable businesses * Focus on emerging businesses in rural areas affected by the decline in the banana industry * Assist informal enterprises in becoming incorporated and attaining membership in local business associations * Reduce red tape in accessing the OPSR – EU assistance. The programme is delivered in a 15 week Competitive Enhancement Programme for SMEs.

The first set of participants in the programme were graduated on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at the Indies Conference Centre. The Graduation Ceremony was preceded by a SME – CLIMB Business Forum. Presentations were made by the following persons:- Mr. Silvanius Fontenard, General Manager, St. Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association (SLHTA), Mr. Edward Harris, Management Consultant, St. Lucia Industrial & Small Business Association (SLISBA), Mr. Roston Taylor, President, St. Lucia Manufacturers Association (SMA) who also represented the St. Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture, and Mrs. Althea Shingleton-Smith, President, St. Lucia Coalition of Service Industries, Inc. The representatives of the various associations informed the gathering about the services they offer and took the opportunity to explain some aspects of business that are necessary for them to practice in order to succeed.. Each participant will be given an opportunity to access paid up membership to an association of his or her choice. Displays were mounted by SMA and SLISBA. CLIMB is a very comprehensive programme. For the first time, small businesspersons have been given a real opportunity to do things right so as to ensure that they succeed.

The Gaduation Ceremony was addressed by Ms. Jacqueline Emmanuel, Director of OPSR, Mr. John Calixte, National Authorising Officer, Senator Hon. Guy Mayers, Minister for Trade, Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs with responsibility for OPSR. Mrs. Paula Calderon, Managing Director of Caribbean Awning Company Ltd. delivered the Feature Address. Certificates were awarded to the participants of the CLIMB Programme.

The RISE programme which is headed by Dr. Stephen King with initial assistance from the British High Commission is a very interesting development. It targets young people and aims to establish a National Youth Service. I alluded to this in one of my articles some months ago and it is good to see efforts are being made in this direction.
There is also the OECS Skills for Inclusive Growth Project. The programme is being sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Economic Planning, Investment & National Development and seeks to provide training for unemployed youth in the four sectors – Agriculture, Construction, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Tourism.
It is all coming together now and with the proposed awareness programme on Corporate Social Responsibibilty (CSR) scheduled to be launched in St. Lucia early next year, it is expected that numerous opportunities will be available to professionals and businesspersons to give back to their communities and play their role as good corporate citizens.
Keep the Faith, God is in Charge, Dream Big and Expect Miracles in 2007.
Edward Harris
Email: eaharrisdestiny@gmail.com
Websites: http://www.stluciasimplybeautiful.com http://www.stluciarealtors.com

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