Trade Ministry, UTC reaffirm support for Scale Up TT

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Trade and Industry Paula Gopee-Scoon, second right, and Nigel Edwards, executive director of the Unit Trust Corporation shake hands after the June 28 Scale Up TT MoU signing at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain. Looking on are Randall Karim, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and UTC’s head of marketing Hema Ramkissoon. – Photo courtesy UTC

THE Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) on June 28, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) marking their continued partnership and support for the Scale Up TT Business Accelerator.

“This initiative, aimed at small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) with significant growth potential, seeks to drive economic growth and innovation through fostering a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem,” a news release for the UTC on June 28 said.

“Developed by Prof Daniel Isenberg, founder of Entrepreneurship Policy Advisors (EPA) in the United States, the Scale Up Programme has a proven track record of success.

“Since its inception in Manizales, Colombia, in 2010, the programme has empowered countless entrepreneurs across diverse countries.”

The release said UTC’s participation in Scale Up TT aligns with the corporation’s efforts to help small and medium-sized enterprises firmly establish themselves in the country’s business landscape by boosting revenue, exports, and employment.

“Growth is a continuous journey – Scale Up TT is not a one-and-done programme. It is a mindset shift that we hope will serve to fundamentally shape the conversation around entrepreneurship and transform how our business owners think about expansion.” said Nigel Edwards, executive director of the Unit Trust Corporation.

This renewed partnership between the ministry and the UTC builds upon the programme’s established track record, the UTC said.

The programme has already benefited three cohorts and has featured impressive growth stories, as companies have ramped up hiring, exponentially increased revenues, landed new contracts, and expanded into new regional markets and lines of business.

Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon noted the success of businesses participating in the first three cohorts.

She said, “SMEs are the engine of growth in developing countries and that cannot be overlooked. It is therefore imperative that targeted programmes be implemented to support the SMEs. Since the launch of the Scale Up TT Programme in 2021, over 30 participating businesses with a combined revenue in excess of $460 million, also comprising more than 1,200 employees, and that is salient because those employees have benefitted from this programme. We are building on this success and continuing to build this momentum today with the launch of cohorts four and five.”

Scale Up TT has benefited a total of 34 companies and 173 Scale Up TT alumni graduates.

Edwards said, “Through Scale Up TT, many of the companies have already seen leadership growth and development, their employees have seen more opportunities and expanded careers, their customers are experiencing better and expanded services and their growth is either directly or indirectly spilling over into their communities. Each of these businesses forms part of an ecosystem that itself, connects to this larger ecosystem, and it is a thing of beauty to look at from my vantage point”

The Scale Up TT programme targets established businesses with high-growth potential providing leadership, mentorship and training.

Through a series of workshops and mentorship sessions, the programme equips participants with the knowledge and tools necessary to scale their operations effectively.

“The Scale Up TT programme is a powerful investment in the future of Trinidad and Tobago’s economy. By nurturing established businesses with high-growth potential, we can create a ripple effect of innovation, job creation, and prosperity for generations to come,” the release said.