By anguillian February 27, 2017 11:17 Updated




Mr. Bren Romney, Ms. Joleyne Robin, Mr. Carlton Pickering and Ms. Heather Richardson

Young people in Anguilla, desirous of setting up self-owned small and medium-sized enterprises, are being encouraged to do so with the help of a European Union-funded programme with links to the Department of Youth and Culture; the Anguilla Development Board; and the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce.

The source of financial assistance is called the COSME Programme. The European Union initiative was launched in Tortola in April 2014 and has now been expanded for another 18 months. It is disbursing some fifteen million Euros to create or strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises in the Overseas Countries and Territories in the Caribbean region.

According to a policy statement, the overall objective of the programme “is to contribute to the sustainable and climate-resilient economic diversification and prosperity of the Overseas Countries and Territories by improving the competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the participating territories”.
Anguilla is among the English, French and Dutch Caribbean territories where there are Steering Committees overseeing the functioning of the COSME Programme in each territory. The Anguilla Steering Committee held a press conference on Friday, February 17, to update media representatives about the programme as it relates to Anguilla.

Mr. Carlton Pickering, a Board representative of the Anguilla Chamber of Commerce, chaired the event during which he praised the COSME Programme for the work it has done, and is doing, in Anguilla. Among those with him were the Director Youth and Culture, Mr. Bren Romney; the department’s Senior Programme Officer, Ms. Joleyne Robin; and Ms. Heather Richardson of the Anguilla Development Board.

Mr. Romney said his department got involved in COSME because of the department’s GETSET Entrepreneur Programme which provides a number of services for young business persons in Anguilla. “Those services can range from mentorship to training, business development support services, technical support services, and to funding through a loan guaranteed fund provided by the Government of Anguilla and established with the Anguilla Development Board.”
He continued: “In that regard, the comprehensive list of services that we provide to young entrepreneurs made us an ideal candidate to sit on the stakeholder forum of the COSME Programme – and we have been doing this since 2014. COSME has been extremely beneficial to youth entrepreneurship development in Anguilla in many aspects. COSME has done much in improving our business regulatory environment as well as a Business Act that clearly defines what small and medium-sized enterprises are. It has also done significant work in terms of assisting us with our IT and intellectual property regime; and it is creating a model that can be used throughout the Overseas Countries and Territories. That will particularly help our young people create industries in Anguilla. It has also done significant work on how we can diversify our economy; strengthen existing industries and create new and energising sectors that would be beneficial to small and medium-sized enterprises.”

Ms. Heather Richardson spoke about what is generally referred to as the “incubation project” in the twelve participating territories including Anguilla. The project includes providing housing and rental spaces for start-up businesses, and a sharing of resources until the young businesses can move out to other locations on their own and continue their development, while making space for other emerging enterprises. Ms. Richardson said the aim was to begin such a project in Anguilla with funding from COSME. Such a project would give entrepreneurs in Anguilla with business ideas, but who may not have the space, to initially set up their businesses without much overhead cost.
“This incubation project for Anguilla is still in its early stages of development,” she added. “We haven’t yet decided on policy, but we will continue getting that done before the end of the year. COSME has also promised to give us assistance whether technical or financial.”

Ms. Joleyne Robin joined in welcoming assistance from the COSME Project. “We are very grateful to COSME for its continued support, and we want the young people in Anguilla to know that there are opportunities for them,” she stated. “Our young people have excellent opportunities and there are persons who are willing to invest in their future. I am encouraging all young people living in Anguilla to tap into our GETSET Programme, especially if they are unemployed and want to start their own business.”

She offered this advice to all youngsters: “We are currently recruiting young people [for the GETSET Programme]. If you have a business idea and want to start your own business, or if you have a business and would like to benefit from the training and mentorship component, here is some helpful information: We are currently inviting all young people living in Anguilla, between the ages of 18 and 35, to visit the Department of Youth and Culture, or our Facebook page, to receive more information on the programme. We encourage you to take full advantage of the opportunities being offered to you.”

By anguillian February 27, 2017 11:17 Updated


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