The Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF) is committed to spurring economic activity through entrepreneurial development. To achieve this outcome, SIDF launched its Small Entrepreneur and Enterprise Development (SEED) project in St. Kitts and Nevis in November 2012 and January 2013 respectively.
The SEED project affords Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis the opportunity to start their own businesses by providing them with training and interest-free loans ranging from EC$5,000 to EC$100,000. These loans are disbursed through the FND Enterprise Co-operative Credit Union and the Nevis Co-operative Credit Union. In addition to receiving training and funding, each entrepreneur is assigned a business manager and an accountant for at least one year, contracted by SIDF at no cost to the business, to help ensure the profitability and success of the new venture.
SEED is implemented in two phases. In the Development Stage, participants are enrolled in a compulsory four-week Business Boot Camp to undergo entrepreneurial training delivered by professionals. Topics include Accounting Basics, Marketing, Managing a Business, Customer Service Delivery and Preparing the Business Plan. Upon completion of the Business Boot Camp and presentation of the business plan for their proposed venture, successful participants move to the Incubation Stage in which they receive the funding, coaching and accounting support to establish and operate their business. At the end of this one-year incubation period, entrepreneurs are expected to manage their ventures on their own.
As of February 2015, there have been four cycles of SEED. During that period, 89 participants received business training and 55 proposed businesses were approved for funding. Of the approved proposed businesses, 42 progressed along the path to start-up with loans funds totaling EC$4,347,500.00. Thirty-six (36) businesses – 16 in St. Kitts and 20 in Nevis - are already in operation. The types of ventures are varied and include beauty and health care, construction equipment rental, hydroponics farming, poultry farm (producing eggs), mobile advertising, clothing design and manufacture, soap production, steam cleaning and pressure washing, tutoring and upholstery.
Interested, eligible Citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis may apply to participate in the SEED project once the dates for submitting applications are announced. The application form and SEED brochure may be downloaded from the SIDF website (www.sknsidf.org) or picked up at the SIDF office located in Unit C21 The Sands Complex, Bay Road, Basseterre.