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Jun 29, 2020

A First Cohort of Entrepreneurs from the Belize Accelerator Program

The Belize City Council has embarked on a programme to assist new businesses. They are providing training and some equipment to assist businesses to get off the ground. The initiative, according to Belize City Mayor Bernard Wagner, will create employment opportunities to the many who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Here is News Five’s Duane Moody with a report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A first cohort of participants from the Belize Accelerator Program of the Belize City Council received their certificates today as well as equipment to help them jumpstart their business and in some cases, allow the longevity of entrepreneurs across the city. It is the brainchild of the Local Economic Development unit of the council, which was spearheaded by the late Hubert Pipersburgh. The BAP provides the participants with the knowhow of business. The motto is “I Am My Own Boss, the New Normal.”

 

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“We had to look at the unemployment that exists in the city. As you all know, over eighty thousand Belizeans are suffering due to loss of jobs and that hit Belize City pretty hard and so we felt that we needed to fast track this programme to play our role as the main leaders of the city to ensure that our people have this new way of doing business.  We need to ensure that it is sustainable. We need to ensure that the individuals are able to carry out some level of training. In general terms of business models, marketing their products, the basic profit and loss statement. It does not have to be anything technical, just a book and a pen, but we really wanted to just round them off so that when we put them out there in the position to really create their own business and move their business forward that they do not fail.”

 

There are several components to the programme. With assistance from the Insurance Corporation of Belize, Taiwanese Embassy, Blue Coral Management – Almog Holdings, and others, the participants are also being provided tools and equipment to help with their business.

 

Bernard Wagner

“We also ensured that we provided the necessary equipment to jumpstart that business and that is why you see some of them getting refrigerators, the yard cutting equipment, the barbering, vending equipment and that sort of thing. So we feel pretty good about this program. It has received significant contribution from the public sector.   I also have confirmation of funding from the Commonwealth Local Government Forum; that’s a group out of London, the Caribbean as well. But this is the new norm and we as leaders in our society have to provide the enabling environment to have our people succeed.”

 

Several participants gave testimonials at today’s ceremony, including Marsha Gillett.

 

Marsha Gillett

Marsha Gillett, Participant, Belize Accelerator Program

“Miss McDougal from the LED Unit of the City Council deserves a huge acknowledgement today. She has been and I believe will continue to be one of our biggest cheerleaders as we accomplish big things in our business. In conclusion, with the help I am receiving from this program crafted by the Belize City Council, I plan to make sure to take what I have learned and put it into making For You By Me the best at customising. I have so many ideas that I can now bring to reality. I was always a boss, now I am the boss.”

 

The programme is valued at one hundred thousand dollars, but will require continuous funding through partnership. Duane Moody for News Five.


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