The partnership between bmobile and the THA Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour continues to encourage, support and reward entrepreneurship in Tobago. The alliance resulted in the contribution of several mobile devices to category winners in a virtual business expo.
The expo, created and executed by the Business Development Unit (BDU) of the THA, is a platform that allows the recipients of the unit’s loan program to showcase, market and advertise their products and services to the general public. The BDU is charged with the responsibility for entrepreneurial development in the micro- and meso-business sectors of Tobago.
The BDU offers seed funding through loan and grant programs and training in areas to enhance business development. While the BDU usually hosts trade expos such as the Christmas village and other events to allow entrepreneurs the opportunity to market and showcase their products and services, the public health regulations curtailed this opportunity. The virtual expo has been designed to run in cycles every quarter, rotating sectors of businesses on the platform.
Gerard Cooper, general manager, Shared Services, TSTT, welcomed the opportunity to empower the entrepreneurs through the virtual expo. “Adaptation is key not only for entrepreneurs and businesses but also for companies and organisations that support them,” he said.
"Our contribution to those who excel in this sphere is one that has longer-term implications in not only helping their business to succeed through technology but also to raise the resilience of their families and households too. Our work through the bmobile Foundation seeks to do just that everyday across many areas of TT and we congratulate those who put in the work to benefit from this reward.”
Shelly-Ann Baptiste, manager of the BDU, said their work goes well beyond funding allocation. “The unit continues to foster and encourage entrepreneurial growth across a wide cross section of the Tobago populace. Our assistance is not only through funding, but also through training, networking and strategic alliances that will be of benefit to our entrepreneurs,” she said. The unit has facilitated participation in trade shows in Tobago and across the Caribbean, including Cuba, just before the pandemic landed on our shores.
“We express our sincere gratitude to bmobile for partnering with us over the years through our Christmas village, business outlook conferences, youth forums. The devices will go directly to the category winners allowing them to increase their own response time to their customers. Understanding that time is money, these devices will allow them to respond in almost real time to e-mail, text, calls or whatever social media platforms they may be utilising to market themselves,” she added.
The category winners have already reported increased orders as a result of their participation in the expo. They have also received greater awareness through interviews from media houses in the Caribbean.