Karen Carraballo

BOLD IDEAS: Karen Carraballo, from left, chief entrepreneurial development officer, Nedco, touches elbows with Calvin Maurice, CEO of Nedco; Meghnath Gosein, executive manager, corporate services at CARIRI, and Robert Nunes, programme officer at CARIRI, at yesterday’s signing of the MOU by Nedco and CARIRI to promote training and mentorship of businesspeople.

WITH job losses increasing in light of the economic impact of Covid-19, the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) has seen a steady increase in the number of people approaching them with ideas to open their own businesses.

So said executive manager of CARIRI, Meghnath Gosein, who said the constant flow of people is due to many being displaced from the labour market, as well as many university graduates without jobs.

It is against this background CARIRI signed a Memorandum of Understanding yesterday, with National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd (Nedco) to provide training, business advisory services, mentorship and other support services for Nedco clients and those enrolled in the CARIRI/IDB Idea Advisory Service.

Gosein said the focus is mainly on young people who have bold, innovative ideas for high value-added products.

“We haven’t waited for persons to come to CARIRI. We’ve gone across T&T where the company has spoken to 1,000 mainly young persons to talk to them about their ideas. We have visited tertiary institutions and some workplaces.”

He said even though there is a focus on young people, people of all ages have approached his organisation with ideas, even from the food industry.

“Many of them who are approaching us now because of the pandemic are going to try to do businesses that require more ICT intervention. How they deliver products of services, how they receive payment. They want to get involved in e-commerce. You’re seeing that type of businessperson. You’re seeing a lot of people in the food sector coming to us,” Gosein said.

Also speaking at the signing ceremony was chief executive officer of Nedco, Calvin Maurice, who said he believes the MOU is timely, given that many people do not have the financing to start or grow their own business.

“We anticipate that our combined resources would trigger a virtual development circle that unleashes the innate human creativeness to develop and deliver products and services demanded by the communities we serve. This process would further enhance enterprise competitiveness while simultaneously creating sustainable livelihoods and tax revenues that can be reinvested for social and economic gains,” said Maurice.

He said Nedco will continue to focus on outcomes-to ensure that its operations make a significant contribution to job and wealth creation.

“We will further ensure that the process adds value by accelerating the start-up of new businesses and helps to maximise their growth potential with less difficulty than alternative MSE support structures,” said Maurice.

Nedco and CARIRI are confident many entrepreneurs will benefit from this initiative, adding that many entrepreneurs in the current Business Acceleration Programme are ready to have their ideas nurtured to be able to tap into the local, regional and, possibly, international markets.

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