Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 21, 2019 (SKNIS): Experts around the world agree that both small business and entrepreneurship are drivers of economic growth within a country. The Government of National Unity in St. Kitts and Nevis is fuelling an increase in business registration through its policies and initiatives.
According to figures from the Department of Inland Revenue, business registration in St. Kitts has shown dramatic improvement over the past five years. The Acting Prime Minister, the Honourable Shawn Richards, shared the statistics as he addressed an audience at the Annual Private Sector Banquet held on Saturday, October 19, 2019, at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort.
Honourable Richards reported that, “The business registration base in St. Kitts increased from 5,084 in 2014 to 7,483 as of September 2019, which represents a 47 percent increase in the number of businesses registered and a net gain of 2,399 businesses. 2019 has seen an average registration of 43 registered businesses per month. If this trend continues for the last quarter of the year, it is expected that 2019 business registration numbers should be the highest ever registered by the Inland Revenue Department.”
Since 2015, the government has helped hundreds of business either start or expand operations by enabling access to concessionary funding, as well as technical assistance, provided primarily by the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis under the Fresh Start Loan Programme for Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
A wide range of businesses involved in activities such as trucking; transportation; cosmetology; pig farming; catering; e-commerce; light manufacturing; agriculture; agro-processing; arts and crafts; music, and videography were assisted.
In addition to the funding, the acting prime minister noted that the Inland Revenue Department has on-going compliance activities to ensure that all businesses are registered.
The government also assists persons interested in entrepreneurship to get hands-on training in business operations. Currently, the Department of Youth Empowerment in collaboration with the Small Business Development Centre (formerly known as the National Entrepreneurial Development Division, NEDD) is hosting a series of training sessions for young people during the month of October.
The first workshop runs from October 21 to 25, 2019 at the Cayon Community Centre from 8:30 am to 4 pm. About 20 participants are learning about: Market Research and Analysis; Costing and Pricing; Business Codes of Conduct; Customer Service; Business Codes of Conduct; Developing a Business Plan; Financial Projections; Managing Risk and Contingency; Advertising and Promotion; Exploiting ICT for Business, and Money Management, among other areas.
On the fourth and fifth days (October 24 and 25), the training participants will form into groups and go into various communities. There, they will market and sell products and services for the simulated businesses they developed during the sessions. They will then be expected to report their earnings and overall experiences to the instructors and the rest of the class.
Training sessions are scheduled to be held in Newtown and Sandy Point in the coming weeks.
The Department of Youth Empowerment falls within the portfolio of the