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Young Producers Reap Rewards from Business of Music Accelerator Programme

From the look of things and judging from a recent music programme, which elevated a group of young producers to enterprising business entrepreneurs – there appears to be bright prospects on the horizon for local budding artists.

Ten young Saint Lucian music producers have successfully completed the Business of Music Accelerator Programme run through the St. Lucia Social Development Fund- SSDF.

Each producer won a sum of $10,000 after successfully pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges.

In the run-up to this final assessment, 13 young and exciting music producers were given the opportunity to pitch their ideas through the Business of Music Accelerator Programme funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), through the SSDF.

The six-month business training programme was coordinated locally by the SSDF – in collaboration with the St. Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) and the St. Lucia Coalition of Services Inc.

The winners from the pitching contest, were as follows:

Runny Gordon, Lara Gustave, Malana Stephen, Onarcisse Alexander, Kerwin Bowers, Jared Pollard, Jervaise Antoine, O’Lerry Alfred, Ezra Mc. Dowell and Chris Henry. Each walked away with a $10,000 cash prize to fund their dream music projects.

The funds will be managed and disbursed by the SLDB-   through its “Pass Through Facility”.

Yvonne Agard – Executive Director – St. Lucia Coalition of Services Inc. acknowledged the hard work and dedication that the young participants undertook to get this far.

“You’ve worked hard and have made the sacrifices necessary to move from being a ‘creative’ to the point that you now understand the business element of the industry that you are part of,” declared Agard.

Several consultants and mentors were involved in preparing the young producers for the pitch competition. The training was expanded to ensure it met the developmental needs of the participants.

“You started off benefitting from Technical Vocational Training in the creatives, but through the wisdom of project coordinator …as well as the Caribbean Development Bank, they realized and it was important that you were exposed to the opportunity to develop your product and to develop your business,” John Victorine – SSDF’s Deputy Director, told the young producers.

Malene Joseph, the Project Consulting Coordinator of the Creative Industries Investment Fund [CIIF] of the CDB – urged the participants to capitalize on a wider regional and international market.

Said Joseph: “I urge you, each participant to see yourself as part of the regional eco-system where every contribution to the music industry has a place, and each of you has a part to play in engendering excellence and opportunity for the whole industry.”

Lavern Louard-Greaves, the CDB’s Social Analyst, was one of the persons involved in conceptualizing the Business of Music Accelerator Programme. She hopes that the initiative will attract support from other private sector agencies in a bid to ensure its longevity.

Louard-Greaves explained, “Not only does this mechanism provide funding for its participants, but we hope that it also serves as a notice to entities within the financial centre and creative industries alike that there are feasible modalities within which relevant and needed support can be provided and accessed.”

Adrian Augier, award-winning author, actor and poet was a member of the judging panel tasked with the job of assessing the 13 musicians who took part in the pitching competition. He imparted some advice to the young artists on how to present clear and succinct business ideas for funding consideration.

“The people who sometimes had the simplest plan and who were clear about what they were trying to achieve, tended to do better than pope who had several things,” Augier noted.

The CIIF Music Accelerator is a 21-day training session packaged as three modules and open to artists, performers, labels, publishers, producers and aggregators in any genre of the Caribbean music industry whose business is registered in any of the CARICOM member states.

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