10 Selected for Business Incubation Clinic

KINGSTON – Following a 5-week competition and rigorous selection process, Accelerate Caribbean is excited to announce 10 business enablers from 7 islands in the Caribbean that will participate in its Business Incubation Clinic during 2015-2016.

Infodev’s Business Incubation Specialist, Sophia Muradyan, has expressed hearty congratulations to the selectees and thanks all who participated. “We received nearly 50 applications from all 14 CARICOM countries, from, among other areas, ICT and mobile technology, climate change (Green Tech), and sustainable development, but what was very encouraging is that several applications came from women-entrepreneur-focused incubators!” Muradyan said.

Using criteria such as an organization’s past experience and strategic vision, an expert panel shortlisted 18 enablers focused on high growth entrepreneurs. Following a comprehensive interview process, 10 were selected.

The 10 business enablers selected to participate in this training programme, 2015-2016, are:
– Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods, Barbados
– Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre, Jamaica
– Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI)’s Center for Enterprise Development, Trinidad
– Caribbean Mobile Innovation Programme, Jamaica
– GeoTechVision, Guyana
– Grenada Small Business Incubator, Grenada
– National Integrated Business Incubator System, Trinidad
– St. Vincent and The Grenadines National Center of Technological Innovation Inc, St Vincent & The Grenadines
– Startup Jamaica, Jamaica
– Telesur Multimedia Innovation Lab, Suriname

What is the Business Incubation Clinic?

Selected participants have been paired with an international business mentor, who will be their one-on-one coach throughout the 12-month program, which kicks off with 2-day Business Incubation Management training in Bridgetown, Barbados on June 8th, followed by an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development workshop.

A total of four such Business Incubation Management training sessions and workshops will take place across the region in 2015-2016 and are open to a broader audience of incubation practitioners.

Keep abreast of Accelerate Caribbean through:

How Many Customers Does Your Business Really Need?

No one is buying?

The market’s just not big enough.

Our population is too small.

All of these are comments I hear regularly from business owners and people considering starting a business on Montserrat.

black-business-ownerWhile there is truth to all of the above statements, often we generalize and take on other people’s assumptions without testing them for ourselves.

Consider no one is buying. Are you running a business where you need people to purchase your service daily or can one good sale per week set you right and meet your monthly sales goals? Evaluate what your daily, weekly and monthly sales targets need to be and then evaluate your systems with those figures in mind. If you do require daily sales then what promotions or changes can you make to improve how your customers engage with your product or services? Maybe you are not advertising enough or not advertising on the media platforms or in the locations where your customers are.

The market’s just not big enough. Montserrat (5000) is one of the smallest markets in the region and while many think that is the case, places such as Saba (1800+) and St. Eustatius (3000+) have even smaller populations. Again look at your market. Do you need all 5000 people on Montserrat to keep you in business? Even if you did, could you meet the demand? The better plan would be to look at your sales targets and ensure they cover your expenses and a reasonable profit. How many people would need to purchase your cleaning or accounting service this month?

If your goal was 10,000 per month then evaluate your pricing packages. How many private homes would you need to clean monthly to reach that goal? How many businesses would it take to reach the target? If you have support then maybe it can be done by taking on more private homes or increasing the fees for servicing businesses.

Our population is just too small. Small gives you the opportunity to be unique and create a premium and quality product. If you look around and see everyone doing the same thing, then it does not make sense to follow the trend. All of you will be competing with the same products in the same space. Rather, find a way to position your products and services in the market so you stand out. Develop unique products, offer exceptional service, personalize your offerings to keep customers coming back.

Rather than listening to the voices around you who are often only repeating what they’ve heard from others, do you own research and listen to your inner expert.

Use the Start a Business in 5 Days Workbook to help you develop your market and sales strategy.

Five Money Mistakes Caribbean Entrepreneurs are Making

It didn’t take me long to compile this list as they are mistakes I’ve made and some of them more than once. With the right systems and discipline you can change your money game in order for your business to stay afloat.

1 – Setting your prices too low. Many entrepreneurs believe that they will get ahead by being the cheapest on the block but that’s not so. If your prices are too low and they don’t allow you to properly serve your customers then they won’t do business with you for long. Don’t be afraid to be more expensive than your competitors if you are offering more value and better service.

2 – Setting prices based on time and not value. Consider a software developer who may deliver a business application to a client in a matter of days but which allows them to make millions of dollars. If she only charged for the time spent on the work it doesn’t represent the true value of what she delivered, which is the opportunity to make millions. Know the true value of what you provide to your clients and price accordingly. Charging too low sends the message that your work is subpar.

3 – Setting prices based on supplies and not including your time. It may seem like a no brainer but often when you enjoy what you do, you forget to include the fact that it takes you time to do the work and that has a cost. Going to pick up the wood, building the cabinets, delivering and installing them has a value. Keep track of your hours over several tasks to help you understand how much time it takes you to deliver on different types of projects and include that in your quote.

4 – Not saving. Oh happy day. You got paid and there are bills to pay and fun to be had. By all means pay your bills but save as well. While it would be a real ego boost to run out and by that new SUV with your profits, a better plan would be to reinvest the money in the business, even if it means hiring a financial planner, taking a marketing course or purchasing a new computer. Practice this rule. Spend some. Save some. Give some.

5 – Not keeping good records. There is nothing more embarrassing than a bounced check. Take the time to file your bank slips, invoices, and receipts. At all times you should be aware of how much money is outstanding, how much you need to pay out to suppliers and service providers. Design a strategy to collect payments in a timely manner to keep your business out of the red.

Nerissa Golden is an award-winning Media Strategist, Business Coach and author who helps her clients accelerate their business growth by leveraging high impact communications solutions and income generating strategies. Get tips on starting and growing a business at Follow her on Twitter @trulygolden.