Fifty-five people have started the Ministry of Sports and Community Development’s Entrepreneurship Development Management Programme, also known as the arm. 38 participants were undergraduates, 37 women and one man.
Omadaye Besan, deputy director of community development, said the program focuses on crafts and what people make with their hands.
It involved three months of training with NEDCO on small business development and four weeks of training with Export Center Company Limited on skill enhancement.
Beesan said the trainees attend masterclasses where they are divided into groups based on business areas, such as culinary arts, home improvement, event management, self-improvement and creative design.
“We had experts from different fields come and chat with the trainees. They told them about how they can build their business, challenges, suggestions for progress, they enjoyed the questions from the trainees. And it was a successful two days.”
Participants were instructed to create new products or services or improve existing products.
Gregory Pantin was the only one to graduate. Formerly a draftsman, he creates 3D prints of local icons like Calypso Rose and Black Stalin, as well as folklore legends. He hopes to gain traction in the 2022/2023 tourism season.
Pantin presented a testimonial on behalf of his class.
“Seventy percent of the class graduated. There are 37 women and one gentleman. What happened to all the men? They didn’t get the memo, who knows? But it’s a measure of who wants to better themselves in Trinidad, and which of the majority of micro-entrepreneurial companies in TT creates sex.”
He discussed the nature of the course and its extensive content and then gave a review of “the good, the bad and the ugly”.
“The good: It was a fully realized and implemented online program during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bad: The same problems of virtual participation everywhere have plagued the program – communication, dissemination of information and access to online devices and the Internet – but the program will be in-person from next year. will be removed.
“Well,” he said, to applause: “This program was 100 percent, worth our time. No participant can say their time in class was wasted because each session brought invaluable information to each of us.”
He said the course could have been too compact and additional sessions or recordings would have been helpful.
About “ugly,” Pantin said, halfway through the course he discovered he was the only person in the class. At first, he was happy, he told the friend, but the friend said, “It was sad.”
Pantin recalled, “He said, ‘This government self-improvement program is free, you’re going to need time to better yourself.’ He was very upset there weren’t more men, more young men trying to do better.
“The ugly thing is, while I feel privileged to be the only male represented, the truth is, there should be more.”
Pantin asked everyone present to encourage youth with programs like With These Hands to increase the number of entrepreneurs.