Developing and Sustaining Small Businesses

The relevance of the small business sector is often overlooked.  This sector plays a vital role in the socio economic progress of any country.  The sector allows for the use and development of entrepreneurial skills which leads to gainful employment.  In many developing countries like Saint Lucia with high unemployment and limited resources, the development of this sector is critical in addressing socio economic issues.


The Government of Saint Lucia established a Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU) in September 1994.  The public had access to SEDU and its services from 1995 prior to its official launching on January 23, 1996.  From its inception, the institution has been located in the Ministry of Commerce.  It began operating under the management of Mr. Benjamin Emmanuel (Head) and Mr. McLennan (UNDP Consultant).  It grew under the leadership of Mr. Peter Lorde, PMP (1998-2007).  Ms Julia Mitille is the current Director. 


SEDU's mandate is to implement the strategic agenda item, the Micro and Small Business Development, of the National Industrial Policy.  In fulfilling this mandate SEDU offers assistance to enhance the technical and operational competence of micro and small businesses.  The Business Development Officers at SEDU work with prospective and existing entrepreneurs, which include women, young persons, school leavers, unemployed people, micro and small entrepreneurs in all economic sectors, to provide support and guidance to promote the viability of their businesses.    The Business Development Officers, as certified Project Managers, promote the Project Management approach to enhance business decision making in all sectors.


SEDU services are offered through four programmes which support the strategy of micro and small enterprise development.  They are Access to Finance; Market and Product Development; Entrepreneurial Development and Advocacy.  SEDU through its Entrepreneurial Development Programme equips micro and small entrepreneurs with the right skill set to foster the growth of their enterprise.  The training programmes include - Small Business Management, Financial Management, Marketing Management, Peachtree Accounting, Cost Estimating, Basic Project Management for Small Contractors, Strategic Alliance and Project Management certification.  They are held September to December and February to June. 


SEDU serves as a 'one-stop shop', which facilitates the sustainable development of the micro and small business sector including: Agriculture, Agroprocessing, Construction, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Retail, Services


SEDU is continuing its pledge to ensure that micro and small enterprises find their rightful place in the growing business sector of Saint Lucia.


Written by Perle Alcindor in collaboration with Mr. Peter Lorde and Mrs. Barbara Innocent Charles


dsb-image.jpgParticipants from the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Programme (Cycle 8 - February to June 2008)

Front left to right: Andre Charles, Dwayne Chidi Tobias, Fiona Ghirawoo, Julia Mitille (Director, SEDU), Julius Polius (Vice President, Project Management Association), Honourable Tessa Mangal (Minister, Ministry of Commerce), Suzette Lewis Jean, Valerie Leon, Lavina Dee Alexander


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