PRESS RELEASE – AXCEL Finance, the leading microfinance institution in the Caribbean, has collaborated with the Department of Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs and Invest Saint Lucia to host its second Employer Breakfast Meeting around the theme “2019 and Beyond: A World of Opportunities for Investment and Growth”. The event was held at the Finance Administrative Centre in Pointe Seraphine and saw in attendance management representatives of the public and private sectors, statutory bodies, multinational companies and small business entrepreneurs.
The main objective of the Meeting was to bring to the attention of the audience, the efforts of the Department of Commerce, Export Saint Lucia and Invest Saint Lucia at maintaining the most favourable investment climate for local companies. Another major objective of the event was to highlight investment and growth opportunities present for local companies. Axcel Finance also focussed on the need for Employers to continue to take serious stock in their investment in their staff and ensuring that they continue to be financially responsible which will always add to worker productivity.
Mervin Agiste, Business Development Officer of Axcel Finance, acknowledged that creating an environment of investment and growth should not only be an issue for the private sector or even that public sector, in exclusivity, but one where there is a climate of dynamism, innovation and collaboration. He went on to add that “global circumstances are ever-changing and for us as a nation to have the competitive edge there must be the relevant incubators to propel adequate productivity, and this is a role that Axcel Finance will continue to play”.
Product Development Manager Ms Kerryl Antoine stated that the nation’s workforce, particularly the youth, faced many problems as it relates to debt and affirms that Axcel Finance remains committed to help alleviate the situation. Antoine indicated that it is vital for Employers to realise that financial difficulties can impact the performance of employees and the organisation itself.
The Product Development Manager stated that “business owners need take special interest in their human resource investment, because one reality is that fragile employees are living pay cheque to pay cheque will spell negative outcomes for employers in the form of their staff seeking alternative forms of employment, and even engage in fraudulent activity. Studies continue to show that there is a direct relation between an employee’s finances and their productivity in the workplace.”
Ms. Nancy Francis, Director of Investment at the Department of Commerce, highlighted the roles of the government department at facilitating private sector development in order to remain competitive in a changing global environment. She stated that some of these roles include National Services Policy Strategy and Action Plan aimed at boosting the services industry, strengthening data capturing mechanisms aimed at assisting in decision making and implementing tax measures to encourage industrial development of the manufacturing sector. She also indicated that, through the Commercial Information Centre, the Department engages all businesses to provide opportunities for growth through the provision of computer services, research information, souring raw materials and providing sources of reference.
Another critical aspect of the discussion was presented by Export Saint Lucia’s Director of Client Management Mr Jerson Badal. Mr Badal indicated that the role of Export Saint Lucia was to continue to enhance the competitiveness of the manufacturing and service sectors by providing support services to the business community so as to increase the aggregate value and volume of St Lucian exports of goods and services. He added that the statutory body has been restructured in order to better deliver its services to the business community and deliver on its mandate. He further explained, that Export Saint Lucia is actively engaging with all businesses in order to show them the export potential through its pillars of export development support, capacity building, market information and marketing and promotion.
The feature presentation was done by Mrs Natasha Edwin-Walcott, Research, Policy, Advocacy and Communications Manager of Invest Saint Lucia. Mrs Edwin stated that the main role of the agency was to promote St Lucia as a choice investment location, adding that “we are the main point of contact providing facilitation services from enquiries to after care after establishment. We guide and provide advice to investors throughout the establishing and operating phases of their operations”. Invest St Lucia, she states, is the official investment promotion agency of the government designed to act as a one stop shop for investors. The services of the agency include investment and promotion targeting, business start up facilitation, availability of land and factory space and investor matchmaking. Mrs Edwin Walcott further added that Invest St Lucia continues to work by providing the best services to all investors, including the local business community, to ensure that investing in St Lucia is made easy through proper delivery of business incorporation and registration services, business operation guidance, incentives, and taxation.