Logo of the National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited (NEDCO).
THE West Indian Tobacco Company Ltd (Witco) was among several organisations that signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Entrepreneurship Development Company Ltd (Nedco) at its spotlight event held at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain on Monday.
Along with Witco, Nedco signed MoUs with the National Centre for Persons With Disabilities, the Blind Welfare Association, Serving Women and Youth (SWAY) and the NiNa Young Women’s Leadership Programme.
The MoUs are for collaboration on several projects which will empower and develop women, girls, the disabled and other groups overlooked by society, as well as the arts.
Nedco chairman Clarry Benn said the collaborations would be part of a suite of new products, which will include support in projects such as the YAHP programme, offering customised training and support for entrepreneurs that are interested in aquaculture and innovation literacy through design thinking project. It will be in partnership with UWI to use design thinking, hydroponics, aquaponics and solar energy training to encourage entrepreneurship among youth.
Nedco will also provide scholarships to youths between the ages of 16 and 25, who have just completed business or skill subjects at CAPE, CVQ, CSEC or University.
“The new training and business advisor products will allow us to better serve these entrepreneurial markets to fulfil our mandate to support the growth and development of the local micro and small enterprise (MSE),” Benn said. “We firmly believe that entrepreneurship will continue to play a critical role in the development of our country as we seek to diversify the economy.”
Youth Development and National Service Minister Foster Cummings said Nedco empowers people who wish to become entrepreneurs.
He said when the government recognised the need to support SMEs at the height of covid19, Nedco was the institution used to provide grants and support.
“(We) delivered $32.9 million to over 3,700 recipients,” Cummings said. “Nedco has been instrumental in facilitating access to loans, providing a critical lifeline to many entrepreneurs. Between September 2020 and September 2022, Nedco granted a total of 512 loans valued at over $30 million,” he said.
Nedco’s chief entrepreneurship development officer Karen Caraballo reiterated the company’s commitment to fostering innovation, nurturing talent and empowering individuals on their entrepreneurial journey.
“Today’s discussions have centred around a common vision – the vision of a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem where dreams are not just conceived but transformed into successful ventures,” she said.
“In a world that is constantly evolving the spirit of entrepreneurship remains a beacon of resilience, creativity and determination. It’s a force that propels people forward, driving economic growth, job creation and societal development.”