St Lucia joined the rest of the world to mark the 11th anniversary of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW); the world’s largest program which celebrates and promotes entrepreneurship.  Approximately 10 million people from 170 countries participate in over 35,000 events, activities and competitions during the week-long celebration.

The St Lucia Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture is proud to be part of this global entrepreneurship movement. As host organization, the Chamber continues to strive to provide platforms for aspiring young entrepreneurs who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic prosperity and job creation. Utilizing strategic partnerships and intelligent leveraging, over 40 partners have come together to join in the conversation on catalyzing entrepreneurship.

From April 2018 a series of Partner Meetings discussions, planning events, networking and sharing of information, GEW 2018 slowly became a reality where from November 12th to 18th 2018 GEW was celebrated under the theme #GEWYOUTH.

Activities kicked off with the 2018 DECA Idea Challenge announcing its “Mystery Item” on Friday 16th November. This challenged Student Teams across the island “to transform paperclips into a useful product”. In 2017 St Lucia gained international recognition with the DECA Super Stars of Gros Islet Infant School emerging winners of the DECA challenge with their Pencil Leash made from Rubber-bands. Activities continued on the 12th of November with the RBC Royal Bank Entrepreneurs Speed Networking Forum and GEW Launch held at the Sandals Halcyon, Choc Bay, where over 20 entrepreneurs, networked, received valuable feedback from professionals in the areas of Banking and Finance, Human Resource, Marketing, Public Relations, Information Technology. More seasoned Entrepreneurs with a wealth of knowledge were in attendance to inspire, educate and mentor participants on the art of entrepreneurship by sharing their entrepreneurial journey and experiences on how they started, the mistakes they made, challenges they faced and how they dealt with those challenges in starting and growing their business.

GEW 2018 attracted a number of agencies and individuals who joined in on the celebrations: The Yello Media Group “How to Maximize Your Digital Advertising Dollar” and IICA and the Chamber partnered on a seminar “Business and Trading Opportunities for the Agro Food Sector” which was well received. “Dee-licious Cheesecakes’ led an Entrepreneurship Forum at the Anse Ger Secondary School, while the first SLUDETERA Start UP Huddle received rave reviews from participants and appears to be gaining much traction and support. SALCC’s Idea Challenge was also a hit with Secondary school students who demonstrated their creativity and problem-solving skills. The Chamber of Commerce for its part held its Executive Luncheon sponsored by LUCELEC a GEW Partner on the “National Energy Transition Strategy” (NETS) which among other things highlighted opportunities in the renewable energy sector for the inspired and daring Entrepreneurs and Investors. The Chamber’s Encounter Series with the Prime Minister was also a highlighted activity on the GEW calendar where the Prime Minister provided updates on the Development plans and projects on the island.

GEW 2018 also saw for the second year running the event hosted by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port, Energy and Labour i.e. the Energy Awareness Fair, another event which exposed the numerous opportunities available to entrepreneurs in emerging sectors. The Culmination of a great GEW 2018 was left in the hands of KL Productions and Royalty Weddings with a Gospel Concert on Sunday 18th November 2018 at the Derek Walcott Square and featured over 20 local artists. Many of the Nations Corporate entities joined in to support this event which gives exposure to this entertainment industry niche; Gospel Music and the related service providers.

The week, all in all, was a tremendous success with an increasing number of partner organizations joining in on the conversation, planning and hosting discussions, training, networking activities, exhibitions, workshops and talk shows throughout the week November 12th – 18th 2018. The partnership with the Department of Commerce is also notable as it was through the Chamber’s recommendations Business Month is now held in November and embraces GEW.

This has helped to truly raise awareness surrounding the importance of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship to our nation’s prosperity and economic security. Through Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) the Chamber will seek to provide a year-round platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to connect with mentors, investors, government officials and policy makers to discuss and find new ways of doing things.

The St Lucia Chamber of Commerce says thank you to all partners and individuals for their support and contribution to GEW 2018.