ON April 9th, 2021, the St. Lucia Youth Business Trust (SLYBT) officially commenced its first cohort of the Social Enterprise Incubator Program. The program sought to reinforce the SLYBT’s mandate of supporting social enterprise development in St. Lucia and the Caribbean. The first phase of the program has spanned a four month period and will come to an end on Monday 30th August 2021 with a Pitching Exercise.
Originally designed by the Barbados Youth Business Trust, the Social Enterprise Incubator Program endeavoured to propel the launch of new social enterprises in Barbados, Dominica and St. Lucia. This initiative targeted young entrepreneurs between the ages of 16-30, who were at an early stage of social enterprise development and wanted to move ahead, through the provision of training, mentorship and financing. The immediate goal was to aid in developing and ultimately launching successful social ventures while also building the long-term capacity of social entrepreneurs and organizations.
Participants underwent a series of virtual workshops in the four months which guided them in developing and validating a business plan for their enterprise concept. The program consisted of an interactive learning environment, business planning tools and resources, facilitation from subject matter experts, learning from experience social entrepreneurs, support with launch planning and one-on-one coaching and access to small development grants.
The participants benefited from instruction in areas of Social Enterprise, Social Innovation, Financing a Social Enterprise, Social Enterprise Planning, Creating Social Change and Pitch Preparation. The sessions were facilitated by Social Enterprise Experts from Barbados and Trinidad, along with Business Management Training Experts from St. Lucia.
During the culminating Pitching Exercise, the final Eleven (11) participants will present their business plans before a virtual audience consisting of a panel of three (3) evaluators, program facilitators, mentors and other invited guests. Though this will not be a competitive exercise which results in an overall winner, the participants will be questioned by the evaluators upon their completion of delivery.
Proceeding this first phase of the Social Enterprise Incubator, beneficiaries will be assisted with the start-up and launch of their various social enterprises, followed by the provision of business support, technical assistance and other business advisory services.