Entrepreneurship incubator: Export development and market opportunities in the handcraft sector
The UNESCO Transcultura Programme is a four-year Programme implemented by the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean with the support of the European Union. The overall purpose of the Programme is to deepen cultural integration between Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union, strengthening people-to-people cooperation and exchange.
Under the framework of the Transcultura Programme, the Entrepreneurship Incubator led by Caribbean Export, aimed to strengthen capacities for the development of new cultural projects, self-employment and start-up/scale-up activities for young entrepreneurs within the handicraft sector. The innovative and entrepreneurial project development, supported by the Programme, served to improve beneficiaries’ access to new knowledge, markets, management models and sources of funding.
In this context, the entrepreneurship incubator was designed to offer an innovative framework to build the export development and create market opportunities for young artisans. Through this initiative, creative and scalable entrepreneurial efforts within the handcraft sub-sector of the Cultural and Creative Industries were able to strengthen their export promotion skills, new market entry opportunities, and regional network building.
During this six-week program, from August 2023 to September 2023, 34 selected participants from 14 countries of the region ( Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, , Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago) engaged in a variety of enriching activities designed to enhance Artisans entrepreneurial skills:
1. Online Entrepreneurship Capacity Building Course:
Over a period of six weeks, participants enrolled in a comprehensive online course covering essential topics such as:
- Product and services ideation,
- Pricing and marketing strategies,
- Export readiness and market entry into new territories,
- Regional networking and market integration,
- Pitching and Fundraising techniques.
2. One-on-One Online Mentoring with Expert Business Professionals:
Participants had the invaluable opportunity to receive personalized guidance from experienced business professionals. Each participant was paired with a dedicated mentor, who provided expert advice and support tailored to their specific needs over a designated two-week period.
3. Online Trade Expo Event:
A highlight of the program was a dynamic one-day online trade expo event. During this event, participants utilized the platform to showcase their scaled-up product and service ideas to a targeted audience. Delivering presentations that highlight the value and uniqueness of their offerings, while also exploring potential new business opportunities that may arise from the event. By engaging in these activities, participants gained valuable knowledge, received personalized guidance, and had the opportunity to showcase their entrepreneurial endeavors to a wider audience, ultimately empowering them to excel in their business ventures.