The Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), formerly known as the Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU), is a department within the Ministry of Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs. It is envisaged that the SBDC will offer a more holistic approach to the development of the Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) sector in Saint Lucia, with the core mission being to help businesses become globally competitive by providing long term consulting, training, financing and market research solutions that create real economic impact.
The SBDC was officially launched in November 2014, and through it, offers Saint Lucian entrepreneurs expert knowledge and experience in a range of fields related to business development. The SBDC is part of a network of business support organizations/partners which include Belfund, Environmental Health Department, Ministry of Physical Development, Monroe College, National Research and Development Foundation (NRDF), National Skills Development Centre (NSDC), Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS), Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB), Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC), the Trade Export Promotion Agency (TEPA), and University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus.
The Small Business Development Centre (SBDC), through its network of partners, will serve as a catalyst in improving service delivery to our existing and future entrepreneurs. The Centre pledges to put clients' interests first, behave as professionals, keep client information 100% confidential and to assist all clients with high-value services which will help them make better business decisions and provide value to their operations.
It is well known that micro and small enterprises (MSEs) have the potential to create and expand employment opportunities, develop entrepreneurial skills, enhance market opportunities, and engage in export promotion and import substitution. Therefore, recognizing the important role that the MSE sector plays in contributing to the social and economic development of the country, SEDU (now the SBDC) was established. SEDU was first funded by contributions from the Government of Saint Lucia (GOSL), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Today the operations of the Department are fully financed by the Government of Saint Lucia.
The Micro and Small Scale Business Enterprises Act Chapter 13.19 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia (MSE Act) is what guides the operations of SEDU (the SBDC). As defined by the Act:
A Micro business has:
a. Employment: maximum of five (5) persons
b. Asset base: not exceeding $75,000.00
c. Revenue (annual turnover): not more than $100,000.000
A Small business has:
a. Employment: maximum fifty (50) persons
b. Asset base: not exceeding $500.000.00
c. Revenue: not more than $1,000,000.000
The Act seeks to do the following among other things:
The Department's work programmes are designed to fulfill the Strategic Agenda items of the National Industrial Policy (NIP).
National Industrial Policy (NIP)
This is the first Industrial Policy for Saint Lucia which will operate in tandem with, and be influenced by a number of other Government policies and institutions. These are relevant and necessary to create a supportive environment for the development and growth of competitive private sector businesses. Trade policy is a prime example.
In addition to membership of the WTO and the Lomé Convention, Saint Lucia is signatory to many regional trade agreements offering preferential access to markets in the wider Caribbean as well as North and South America. This will operate as a driver for gradual liberalisation of Saint Lucia's own trade policies and procedures. The government recognizes however, that the pace of such liberalization needs to strike a careful balance between the need to fulfill its obligations, the need for genuine reciprocity by other countries and the need for its own industry to prepare to respond to new opportunities.
National Industrial Policy Strategies
These services are opened to all legal micro and small existing and potential businesses.
1 Entrepreneurial Development
These programs are designed to assist and introduce current and prospective business owners to acquire the knowledge required to manage their businesses more effectively and efficiently.
2 Access to Finance
3 Market and Product Development
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