Cecil Charlton Park to get new entrepreneurial centre
In seeking to strengthen sustainable development in the parish, the Manchester Parish Council in partnership with the Caribbean Local Economic Development project (CARILED) has fully refurbished and retrofitted 10 kiosks in the Cecil Charlton Park to be occupied by established and budding entrepreneurs.
The shops that were officially opened last Friday were a part of a three-part development project and will house the likes of telecommunications giant Flow, raw-food store Fancy Fruits, national food awardee- Liqy Liqy, among seven others.
"To say this is a proud moment for us at the parish council is an understatement ... . today, we are here to witness the completion of phase two - development of the business centre for 10 bold, innovative entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is the new focus and so the opening of these shops is timely," expressed Mayor Brenda Ramsay.
With the new shop owners privileged to receive training after a rigorous selection process that was done in part to ensure the viability of the businesses, CARILED representative Angella Edwards revealed that the project ran over a two-year period and will be the precursor to other future development initiatives.
"This is where we started, right here in the centre, and it will go out. Great things will continue to happen in the parish. I am happy the council has taken on this entrepreneurship initiative and many other projects of this nature. I'm sure you will be hearing and seeing it because we are about to transform Mandeville in terms of economic development."
Echoing her sentiments and highlighting the importance of micro-enterprises was Walter Bernyck, councillor and head of the Development Corporation, High Commission of Canada.
"It is a fact that small business is the engine for the economy of any country ... we believe as you do that development is achieved by stimulating local economy and supporting active involvement of all local stakeholders. For this, Canada has had a long-standing relationship supporting local economic development in Jamaica," he noted.
Minister of local government and community development and guest presenter, Noel Arscott, said the park was one of the first in the island that allowed the requisite individuals to look to upgrading what already exists and lay the basis for business improvement districts.
Shop owner and operator of Fancy Fruits, Maurice Reece, on behalf of the shop owners, expressed gratitude for being among the chosen few.
"This shows such interest and care to us owners that CARILED and the council have looked into this and made this whole project successful. It's not about just putting up a building and putting some brick on the floor, their workshop was very enlightenin. Even though we have been in business for awhile, it was really enlightening."