Overview - Business Incubator and Training Grants
The Government of Saint Lucia (GOSL) has identified the Information Communication Telecommunication (ICT) Industry as one of the main revenue earners since the decline in agriculture, in particular bananas and has developed a National ICT Strategy which seeks to increase access to regional broadband networks and advance the development of an ICT-enabled services industry in Saint Lucia. As such, the GOSL has sought funding from the World Bank for the implementation of the Caribbean Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (CARCIP).
A component of the Project is Human Capacity Building and Business Development activities to generate employment and strengthen the country’s entrepreneurial base. This component of CARCIP forms an integral part of St. Lucia's strategy to position itself as a formidable destination for IT and IT-Enabled Services (ITES) through the provision of Business Incubation and Training Grants (BITGs) to eligible local Training Institutions and ICT Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). It is expected that this will create and nurture a culture of innovation and develop a more sustainable entrepreneurial based.
1. Technology/Business Incubator Services
Funds under this component will support the Government’s efforts to nurture local innovation and develop a more sustainable entrepreneurial base by providing grant funding for the development of technology based small to medium sized enterprises . CARCIP will leverage the services of The Ministry of Commerce who will assist with the Business Incubator Services by ensuring that existing methodologies are aligned with regional and international best practice, leveraging methodologies to identify potential beneficiaries, and to share any methodologies for Micro-Finance Management and other Business Support services used to deliver support on behalf of their member enterprises through agencies such as the Office of Private Sector Relations (OPSR) and the Small Business Development Unit (SEDU).
2. Skills Development and Certification Program
This component will complement on-going efforts by Government to prepare the youth for the job market. The project will provide resources to train and certify youth on IT-related skills with regionally harmonized curricula (e.g. software/apps development, database management and web development) linking with businesses to ensure a market-driven approach that can generate jobs in this new industry and facilitating certification and mutual recognition of this certification at the regional level and international level .
A Consultancy was undertaken to perform a detailed assessment of the quality of skills training and certification programs offered in Saint Lucia as well as the capacity of local institutions to conduct training. (The consultants reports are provided in the table to the left.) The findings have been used to identify skill gaps and make recommendations to develop appropriate skills sets and certification programs that are regionally and internationally recognized. These training programs will allow for linkages with the private sector ensuring a market-driven approach that allows for job creation.
CARCIP will seek assistance from The Ministry of Education in particular the TVET, for delivery of training and certification, the identification of suitable institutions for the delivery of training and certification, and ensuring that the proposed curricula are in line with national and regional standards.