KEAP-ing young entrepreneurs in mind - KSAC provides startup capital
Thirteen budding entrepreneurs residing within the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) were the recipients of cash grants totalling $960,000 last week.
The grants were courtesy of the KSAC Enterprise Assistance Programme (KEAP), which aims to give support to women and youth by boosting micro, small and medium businesses.
A pilot project was undertaken last year that showed unemployment was particularly high among young people.
The brainchild of Kingston Mayor Angela Brown Burke, KEAP not only issues start-up capital to the awardees but also provides them with mentorship and training from successful business leaders and experts for up to six months.
KEAP seeks to issue $2 million over various phases of the programme.
The grants are categorised in three areas, namely, Business Start-up (15 grants at $50,000 each), Business Development (six grants at $100,000 each), and Wage Subsidy (five grants at $130,000 each).
A portion of the revenues from trade licences keeps the programme afloat financially, stated Brown-Burke, who is to demit office after the People's National Party's loss of the KSAC in the local government elections on Monday.
All start-up applicants underwent an entrepreneurial boot camp prior to applying, after which applications were assessed and awardees identified.
Brown-Burke has emphasised female involvement in the programme. In speaking with The Gleaner, she said: "In doing the research, we found that women didn't have the type of network that men did. They have even greater challenges in accessing capital."
TRAINING MOST HELPFUL
In acknowledging that $2 million was not a lot of funds, she added: "The training part has been the most helpful for them in terms of further developing their business plan. They've also grown in business and self-confidence, in addition to building a bond with other entrepreneurs."
To future applicants, she added: "Conduct your own market research. Understand that you are providing a service, you are answering to a demand - know how to fulfil that demand."
The Caribbean Local Economic Development Project sponsors the training and information sessions. Other partners include: Social Development Commission, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Young Entrepreneurs' Association of Jamaica, among others.