BRIDGETOWN – In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and the U.S. Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean are excited to announce the launch of Startup Huddles in Saint Lucia and six Eastern Caribbean countries. These “Huddles” will support local entrepreneurs in honing their pitch skills and discovering solutions to the challenges they face. Key local entrepreneurs serve as StartUp Huddle organizers in their respective countries: Cardelle Ferguson (Barbados), Tamara Prosper (Grenada), Jeneille Lewis (St. Vincent & the Grenadines), Janeel Boon (St. Kitts & Nevis), Michelle Samuel (Saint Lucia), Elijah James (Antigua & Barbuda), and Avena Prince (Dominica). Six of these organizers are also alumni of the U.S. government flagship entrepreneurship exchange program, the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI).
An experiential learning opportunity, Startup Huddle offers a unique program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. The Startup Huddle format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators, and advisers. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
“I’m so excited to see this initiative expand throughout the region,” said Cardelle Ferguson, who is General Manager of the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT), an organization that provides start-up capital, business mentoring, networking, advisory and marketing support services to young Barbadian entrepreneurs. As host of GEW in Barbados, the BYBT also organized various programs throughout the week, including a Business Over Breakfast and pitch competition. “None of this would have been possible without support from both the U.S. Embassy and GEN, and I’m happy that more entrepreneurs across the region will get to access these experiences,” she added.
For the first huddle, the organizers will select local speakers from successful startups in their own countries to share best practices with all participants. Some organizers are hosting their huddle virtually, while others are holding in-person gatherings where COVID-19 protocols will be strictly enforced.
The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face. Each event is organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters and publicize the event.
As opposed to a traditional “pitch” environment, Startup Huddle was not created to be critical of entrepreneurs, but rather for the presenters to learn from shared experiences and find ways to support one another as a community.
Startup Huddle is an educational experience for both the audience and the presenters. Presenters are given resources and support to prepare for their presentation and surveyed after their presentation to see what they’ve learned.
The first Huddle will take place on Friday, November 20th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Barbados Investment Development Corporation (#2 Building Harbour Road, Bridgetown, Barbados).
To get involved in Startup Huddle Barbados, please call 246-228-2772 or see Eventbrite for more details.