Twenty-five local entrepreneurs were exposed to the public via an exhibition on the grounds of Massy Stores Mega last Saturday.
The entrepreneurs were brought together by Nudge Caribbean, a social enterprise which supports entrepreneurs throughout the Caribbean.
According to Kezia Preville, Managing Director of AdVizze Consulting Inc, and Country Coordinator for Nudge Caribbean (Saint Lucia), the tête-à-tête exhibition was entirely beneficial to participants.
“We have 25 entrepreneurs on display today. They’re showcasing items like jewellery, bags, soaps and candles… we also have spiced rum, vegan products and teas… we’re giving entrepreneurs another opportunity (to) develop their craft,” Preville said, noting that “what Nudge Caribbean does is that it supports entrepreneurs to bolster their business.”
“It gives them advice on how to develop their business… looking at areas like finance, investment (and) marketing,” she added.
Whilst business owners have benefitted from teaming up with the company, Preville noted that many of them were affected during the pandemic; Massy Group (an investment/management holding company) has played a vital role in getting entrepreneurs support, she said.
“Massy (helps) us get to the different entrepreneurs to give them the capacity building support they need. A lot of them were displaced during Covid… they used the different entrepreneurial drives … what we were able to do is get the different entrepreneurs support in terms of digital marketing management.
If they did not understand how to deal with getting funding for example… we assisted them with grant funding proposals (and) all those various aspects to get them to the next level,” Preville explained, adding that whilst many of them “were great at all of that, they could not export.”
Nudge, however, wanted to ensure that entrepreneurs were on the right track, the Country Coordinator stated. According to her, “what Nudge Caribbean was doing, was assessing their needs… now that we’re out of Covid and everything is opening up, how do we now spread what we have here (and) get to other countries in the region and also continue business.”
“This is what Nudge is about: innovation, supporting the development of our people and of course looking at our food crisis… Agriculture was a huge focus for us as well… working with the local farmers, working with the local suppliers… you know what happened (during) Covid… we couldn’t get anything, shipping was a problem and supply chains were all broken so we were working with the local suppliers here,” she added.
Preville said they created a hub to ensure that suppliers were supported as the company did not want a repeat of that situation.
Although inclement weather threatened to affect Saturday’s event, the tête-à-tête was a success, Preville said. It also provided the company with an opportunity to get feedback back from customers and allowed participants to do the same.
“We’re so thankful that the public’s coming out… we are now able to get feedback from the customers to find out what our entrepreneurs can do differently and we’re also getting feedback from our Massy Stores partners to find out how our entrepreneurs who are not listed in their store can be listed,” she said.
The exhibition which was held near Massy Stores Mega was preceded by a capacity building workshop on Friday. Entrepreneurs received various tips and techniques for their business and also learned about digital marketing.
“The workshop was phenomenal. We had 20 entrepreneurs from various areas who came in … we were able to give them support in terms of what is needed for them to maintain their supply, how they’re able to use it as a business and not work hand to mouth, and help create that sort of development which is required for them to be successful,” Preville said.