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Nov 29, 2019

EntreCon 2019: Engage, Exchange, Empower

Today at the Biltmore, the Belize Trade and Investment Development Services, BELTRAIDE, through its Small Business Development Center hosted the fifth annual Entrepreneurship Convention.  It featured keynote remarks from the founder of the Caribbean Center of Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods, as well as several panel discussions, as well as an expo of several local businesses.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano was on-hand and files the following report.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Engage, Exchange, Empower; it is the theme of this year’s National Entrepreneurship Convention, EntreCon.  In its fifth year, the gathering of stakeholders with a common interest in financing new commercial enterprises has seen over a thousand participants sharing knowledge, best practices and expertise.


Leroy Almendarez

Dr. Leroy Almendarez, Executive Director, BELTRAIDE

“Entrepreneurship is that vehicle that is driving the economy and many times we don’t focus on it enough.  It also creates employment.  So what we’re doing here today is a convention where you bring entrepreneurs to interact with other businesses.  So people interacting with each other, people sharing and at the end of the day, so it’s like a showcase because the Small Business Development Center, of BELTRAIDE, does this throughout the year where they advise from startups, we also have programs where they can access different benefits.  But here is a case, as a convention where you bring and you listen to speakers.  We just heard from Sean Kuylen, you will hear from another speaker that we invited, to encourage, to empower, to exchange because too often we might have ideas but we are afraid to bring them out or take the risk or take the chance or are afraid of failure.”


Since its establishment in 2014, EntreCon aims to bring together key stakeholders and experts from a network of businesses at the local, national and international levels.  The event supports business development in the ever-changing globalized marketplace.


Marcia Brandon

Dr. Marcia Brandon, Chief Entrepreneurship Expert

“It’s extremely important that we have young people and young entrepreneurs involved in the ecosystem.  So there is this entrepreneurship ecosystem, like other things, and there are many stakeholders involved in that ecosystem and young people, as one of the stakeholders, is vital because we talk about complimenting.  We were all put on this earth together to compliment, not compete.  Again, I strongly believe that is why we are failing.  Nothing wrong with failing unless we keep doing the same thing over and over again.  So for young people to be exposed to entrepreneurship and not just entrepreneurship but the entrepreneurial principles and thinking, it’s vital because even if they don’t start their own businesses they become more productive citizens of the country and of the region.”


Minister of State Tracy Panton is responsible for Investment, Trade and Commerce.


Tracy Panton

Tracy Panton, Minister of State, Investment, Trade & Commerce

“As you know, BELTRAIDE has been really working on a very comprehensive approach in how we implement the conditions and the environment and a culture for entrepreneurship in the country and we feel that those seeds are best planted in our young people so we can nurture those seeds and help them to grow.  EntreCon is really the culmination of a month of activities that have been organized by BELTRAIDE but also by other interested stakeholders in trying to promote entrepreneurship in the country.  It is an opportunity for those who attend the conference to share their ideas and stories to learn from those who already are entrepreneurs so that we can develop the best practices for Belize and be able to develop a strong network of entrepreneurs throughout the length and breadth of the country.”


Along with Galen University and Digi, a scholarship valued at thirty thousand dollars was also raffled during the event. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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