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BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JULY 6 • 2017
Four institutions that have been sup-
porting entrepreneurs in T&T and par-
ticipated in the Youth Business T&T's
(YBTT) Connect and Sign event, spoke
to the Business Guardian about the
trends and accomplishments in entre-
preneurship they have witnessed since the beginning
of the recession.
The event was held at the Hasely Crawford Stadium
in Port-of-Spain last Friday.
Inshan Meahjohn, assistant vice president, entre-
preneurship and technology commercialisation at
UTT, said one entrepreneur who has been in train-
ing in the university's entrepreneurship incubator is
almost ready to export his product.
He did not give details of the name of the company
or the product.
"The incubator is two years old, so therefore many
of the companies are just now starting. However, we
have one entrepreneur in the agro-processing area
who's on the cusp of exporting. We are now finalis-
ing his equipment and very soon he would be able to
export his products.
"We also have entrepreneurs in the ICT space. They
are doing exports because they are providing ani-
mation services, web development services, clothing
services for countries outside of T&T and they are
The Connect and Sign event brought together stake-
holders in the entrepreneurial space to support those
interested in starting a new business---particularly
The UTT incubator started out with 12 companies
and has now evolved to more than 50.
According to Meahjohn, once a member of the pub-
lic joins the UTT, the incubator helps the person build
Support for entrepreneurs who have businesses
associated with agro-processing, ICT, animation,
gaming and fashion are some of the sectors for which
UTT provides training.
"In our current economic circumstances, entrepre-
neurship and SME development are quite important.
Innovation is important. We foster the environment at
Frederick Settlement in Caroni where we have 5000 sq
ft of space but, more importantly, we give mentorship,
marketing, and financial advice. The incubator runs
24 hours per day, seven days per week."
Assistance to entrepreneurs can range from cash
flow management, to search engine optimisation on
Experts also provide their advice and expertise.
Gabriel Faria, CEO of the T&T Chamber of Industry
and Commerce, and representatives from the Heroes
Foundation are among those who have offered their
Meahjohn noted that even though graduates of the
university have the academic qualifications, it may be
difficult to get a job so a viable alternative involved
starting a business.
Jason Charles, business development manager of
Auxesis---a company that provides services such as
business plans and proposals, consulting services and
website design---said customers can now focus on
their product as the administrative duties are handled
by his company.
He said that inspite of his location in San Fernan-
do he has managed to assist entrepreneurs not just
locally but regionally.
"We have had many clients we never saw; clients
from other islands. We opened our doors January 1,
2010 and employ two full-time employees and tem-
porary staff when needed."
His reach is also into Maryland in the United States,
and he is looking to expand his company's market.
Charles said he is seeing trends of people who would
have been laid off and would have been given VSEP
forming part of his client base.
The recession, he said, has been a positive sign for
him as his company has seen increased business.
Heather John, manager, new business development
at Roytec, said the event provided an opportunity
for Roytec to showcase its education programmes in
She added that courses such as the social media
course can be used by entrepreneurs to grow their
Roytec not only deals with local qualifications but
also international qualifications as well.
"We have been asked by ABE (an international ex-
amining body) to introduce two new programmes.
This is the first time we are actually launching it here
so we are testing the waters for people who are en-
trepreneurs. There is level 2 which is about setting
up your own business and level 3 which is the actual
digital marketing aspect of it."
What is clear, she said, is that using social media to
grow a business has often proven beneficial.
Stacy Charles, liaison officer, for the UWI Arthur
Lok Jack Graduate School of Business Biz Booster
programme, said that the programme serves as a
business incubator at the school.
"Right now the school is involved in a partnership
between Biz Booster and YBTT. This year would be
our fourth year of partnering with YBTT for glob-
al entrepreneurship week. Through YBTT we were
able to form relationships with the entrepreneurial
ecosystem in T&T."
David Riley, left, with Inshan Meahjohn, assistant vice president of
entrepreneurship at UTT .
Manager business development Jason CR Charles, left, speaks to a visitor at his
Leslie Brusco, new
business and marketing
officer, centre, and
Heather John, manager
of new business
marketing, Roytec, right,
discuss options with
Keishel Joseph Lalite.
PHOTOS: KERWIN PIERRE
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