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 enter-prise development in St. Lucia and the Caribbean. The first phase of the program spanned a four-month period and finally came 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 vali-dating 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 the 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 11 participants presented their business plans before a panel of three evaluators namely Ms. Zai Karim-Mohammed, Managing Director of the Chreiki Group of Companies, Ms. Chelsea Foster, Executive Director of Girls of A Feather St. Lucia Inc and Ms. Mindy-Luquiana Chicot, Group Marketing Manager of One St. Vincent Group Inc and the Managing Director of OUTLUQ. Program facilitators and participant mentors were also in attendance at the virtual session. Though this was not a competitive exercise, the participants were questioned by evaluators proceeding their deliveries as well as given sound, fruitful feed-back.
Proceeding this first phase of the Social Enterprise Incubator, beneficiaries will be further 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. The SLYBT wishes to congratulate this first cohort of changemakers for completing the first phase of the inaugural Social Enterprise Incubator Program.