KEAP-ing young en­trepreneurs in mind

KSAC pro­vides startup cap­i­tal

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Syranno Baines Gleaner Writer syranno.baines@glean­erjm.com

THIR­TEEN BUD­DING en­trepreneurs re­sid­ing within the Kingston and St An­drew Cor­po­ra­tion (KSAC) were the re­cip­i­ents of cash grants to­talling $960,000 last week.

The grants were cour­tesy of the KSAC En­ter­prise As­sis­tance Pro­gramme (KEAP), which aims to give sup­port to women and youth by boost­ing mi­cro, small and medium businesses.

A pi­lot pro­ject was un­der­taken last year that showed un­em­ploy­ment was par­tic­u­larly high among young peo­ple.

The brain­child of Kingston Mayor An­gela Brown Burke, KEAP not only is­sues start-up cap­i­tal to the awardees but also pro­vides them with men­tor­ship and train­ing from suc­cess­ful busi­ness leaders and ex­perts for up to six months.

KEAP seeks to is­sue $2 mil­lion over var­i­ous phases of the pro­gramme.

The grants are cat­e­gorised in three ar­eas, namely, Busi­ness Start-up (15 grants at $50,000 each), Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment (six grants at $100,000 each), and Wage Sub­sidy (five grants at $130,000 each).

A por­tion of the rev­enues from trade li­cences keeps the pro­gramme afloat fi­nan­cially, stated Brown-Burke, who is to demit of­fice af­ter the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party’s loss of the KSAC in the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions on Mon­day.

All start-up ap­pli­cants un­der­went an en­tre­pre­neur­ial boot camp prior to ap­ply­ing, af­ter which ap­pli­ca­tions were as­sessed and awardees iden­ti­fied.

Brown-Burke has em­pha­sised fe­male in­volve­ment in the pro­gramme. In speak­ing with The Gleaner, she said: “In do­ing the re­search, we found that women didn’t have the type of net­work that men did. They have even greater chal­lenges in ac­cess­ing cap­i­tal.”

TRAIN­ING MOST HELP­FUL

In ac­knowl­edg­ing that $2 mil­lion was not a lot of funds, she added: “The train­ing part has been the most help­ful for them in terms of fur­ther de­vel­op­ing their busi­ness plan. They’ve also grown in busi­ness and self-con­fi­dence, in ad­di­tion to build­ing a bond with other en­trepreneurs.”

To future ap­pli­cants, she added: “Con­duct your own mar­ket re­search. Un­der­stand that you are pro­vid­ing a ser­vice, you are answering to a de­mand – know how to ful­fil that de­mand.”

The Caribbean Lo­cal Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Pro­ject spon­sors the train­ing and in­for­ma­tion ses­sions. Other part­ners in­clude: So­cial De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, Ja­maica Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, Young En­trepreneurs’ As­so­ci­a­tion of Ja­maica, among oth­ers.

RU­DOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Guest speaker Shel­don Sey­mour (third left) speaks with Kingston Mayor Dr An­gela Brown Burke (sec­ond left); Stephanie Hutchin­son (at back), CARILED/ap­pli­ca­tion as­ses­sor; and awardees Kadeen Pow­ell (left), Lisa Kerr (sec­ond right), and Adrian Wat­son at the Kingston and St An­drew Cor­po­ra­tion (KSAC) En­ter­prise As­sis­tance Pro­gramme awards cer­e­mony held last Fri­day at the of­fices of the KSAC.

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