UTC launches Scale Up Cohort 2 business workshop

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Seated front: UTC executive director Nigel Edwards and Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon with the members of Cohort 2 of the Scale Up TT Programme. Photo by Paula Lindo

Fourteen participants will be involved in an intense three-month workshop aimed at growing their businesses, as the second cohort of the Scale Up TT programme.

The programme is being carried out by the Unit Trust Corporation in association with the international company Entrepreneurship Policy Advisors, with funding from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

Speaking at the welcome reception for the cohort at UTC’s head office in Port of Spain on Friday, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon said the Scale Up programme was conceptualised by Prof Daniel Isenberg in 2010.

She said the programme was piloted in Colombia to facilitate accelerated growth in businesses, with over 350 SMEs having since benefited in countries such as India, Panama, Brazil, Guatemala, the UnS and Canada.

Scalerator provides practical sales and marketing, organisational development and entrepreneurial finance skills. The curriculum will be based on EPA’s 3C Scale Up Model for growth – Customers, Capacity and Cash – to accelerate the growth of companies with sales revenues of roughly between $3 million and $30 million from any industry.

Gopee-Scoon said the 11 companies which took part in the first cohort of the TT programme, which began in April 2021, had reported between 25-75 per cent growth in revenues, 25-80 per cent growth in exports and created over 13 new jobs.

She explained, “The 14 companies in Cohort 2 represent a diverse range of sectors including manufacturing, distribution, information and communications technology, consultancy, printing and publishing, medical services and security.”

She congratulated the participants for being part of the programme and said she was encouraged by their decision to be associated with Scale Up TT, as this was testimony of their growth mind-set and ambition to scale up their businesses.

“I look forward to the graduation in February 2023 where you will be presenting your Scale-Up plan to the EPA team. By implementing this plan, your businesses will be equipped with the blueprint and tools to generate increased sales and exports of at least 25 per cent, as well as an expansion in employment within the first 12 months of completing the programme.”

UTC executive director Nigel Edwards said the difference in energy between previous virtual sessions and this first in-person meeting with the cohort participants was thrilling.

“It is a special occasion to be in a room filled with growth-obsessed entrepreneurs, and congratulations on your selection for Cohort 2. I think it’s important for each of you to understand your importance to our national development. As an individual company, you may think that you’re small, even insignificant, but when I look at the collective, you, those that went before and those who are still to come, what I see is the kernel of sustainable economic growth.”

Edwards said UTC was delighted to partner in the programme with the ministry and EPA. He said the results from the first cohort were impressive.

He thanked Gopee-Scoon for her tangible commitment to funding the second cohort.

“Minister, I believe you were impressed by these results and bought into what Scale Up TT is intended to offer – the transformation of growth-focused business owners to contribute even more impactfully to our country’s wealth-building and socio-economic development.

“As we share joint missions, your ministry’s partnership as a significant strategic stakeholder in the development of our country’s entrepreneurship sector validates your commitment towards the much-needed diversification of our country’s revenue.”

Isenberg, in a virtual presentation, said the Scalerator programme was based on four pillars: getting more local firms to grow more rapidly for the benefit of all by creating a growth-obsessed and growth-enabling economy; demonstrating that growth can happen; communicating the growth; engaging and aligning stakeholders to collaborate on Scale Up; and making the movement sustainable by creating and training a core operational team.

Two virtual workshops have already been held and the cohort participants said they had already learned a lot.

MCS Software’s Kent Jeary said, “it has enlightened us to new ideas, and one of the things I found particularly interesting were the growth stories – telling the growth stories, how to build a growth story, how to use the growth story to improve the morale in your company, overall morale with your shareholders and the wider community.”

Melissa Pascal of Pascal’s Bakery said the culture of celebration was one lesson which had had an impact on her thinking.

“That is so critical. I think we as business owners, at least within Pascal’s Bakery, we just never celebrate anything, and just having that celebration culture, it becomes a fun place to work and yet still achieve growth – both are possible.

Ian and Vitra Narinesingh of Vian Industrial Solutions said the programme gave them a template for what a successful company should look like.

“For smaller companies, you can’t be an expert at every single aspect of running a business properly, so this lets you know what it should look like, and that was really helpful.”

Participating companies in Cohort 2:

Corrosion Coatings Ltd

Caribbean Transportation Consultancy Services Ltd

Ecliff Elie

Forward Industries Ltd

GISCAD Ltd

ICONS Co. Ltd

MCS Software Ltd

Newtown Medical Centre Ltd

Vian Industrial Solutions Ltd

Pascal’s Bakery Ltd

Precision Air Control

Carpenters’ Edge Ltd

Trincargo International Services Company Ltd

Trinidad Brushware Ltd.