Several small entrepreneurs in the region have been given a new platform to grow their businesses, expand their audiences and embark on development opportunities.
In a media release on Friday, Massy Stores said in collaboration with Nudge, a social entrepreneurship platform was introduced to 60 small businesses in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and St Lucia.
It has allowed participants to learn about the best practices of running and elevating a business, including branding, packaging, quality control, budgeting and sales, while offering mentorship and strategic placement on Massy Stores shelves.
Executive chairman of integrated retail portfolio at the Massy Group of Companies David Affonso said business owners were aware that the opportunity to stock a product on a shelf does not necessarily guarantee its success.
He explained that Nudge sought to teach, learn from and share strategies with its cohorts through a flexible process of knowledge and skills-sharing.
“All companies started at some point as someone’s dream. But it takes that belief in self, commitment, courage and all the rest of it to achieve success. We have an obligation to give back to the communities and countries where we operate,” Alfonso said.
Locally, Nudge corner shops moved from temporary spaces to specially designed, semi-permanent gondolas located in prime spots.
The Nudge corner shops include Immortelle Beauty, Galt and Maree, Cocoa Dreams Estate, Aviaire Body, De Jeunésse, and Art Naturals: Soap and Spa Essentials, at Massy Stores in Trincity, Gulf View, Marabella, Maraval, Alyce Glen and Westmoorings, and will be live until mid-November.
Shenelle Fife, owner of the body product brand De Jeunésse, said, “While the dream is to grow and to scale, the journey is hard. As my sales grow and customer base expands, I’m pressed to get better at production planning, financial projections, cash flows, SKU rationalisation, tamper-proofing, and barcoding. I hadn’t thought about these things in too much detail before.”
She added that being coached by Massy Stores retail experts has really helped her grow sustainably.
Entrepreneurs in Barbados and St Lucia also hoped to learn from the model in TT, the release said, and market stalls launched in these countries showcased local, handmade products which were staffed by Nudge ambassadors who communicated each product’s selling points.
Nudge products, Massy said, also benefit from in-store promotions in an effort to encourage customers to rally around goods made by their own communities.
Nudge was launched in July 2020, after two years of planning by entrepreneur Anya Ayoung-Chee and senior vice president of people and culture at Massy Group Julie Avey. Massy Group of Companies invested US$1 million in the project.
“For some of our community, growing sales and being a permanent supplier to Massy Stores is the dream. For others, showcasing their product to a wider customer base has led to an order book that will give more confidence for future sales.
“I have learned so much and it is clear that we must listen to the needs of entrepreneurs. We can’t assume that we always know what is needed,” Avey said.
Massy added it has truly lived its #MicroIsMighty mantra by opening the gates of entry for homegrown businesses to access bigger markets.