Trade Ministry partners with UTC to Launch the Second Cohort of Scale Up TT

Trade Ministry partners with UTC to Launch the Second Cohort of Scale Up TT

February 6th, 2023 – The Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to be an advocate for the growth and development of businesses, particularly Small and Medium Sized

Enterprises (SMEs), which are a critical pillar for economic transformation.

Accordingly, to accelerate the growth of SMEs, the Government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), partnered with the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) in October 2022 to launch the second Cohort of Scale Up TT. This business accelerator programme, which was initially introduced in Trinidad and Tobago in 2021, has strengthened the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Trinidad and Tobago by supporting SMEs to generate new growth opportunities.

Scale Up is a global programme developed by Professor Daniel Isenberg who is the founder of Entrepreneurship Policy Advisors (EPA) in the United States. Since its implementation in Manizales, Colombia in 2010, the programme has been introduced, with success, in many other countries such as Puerto Rico, India, Panama, Brazil, Guatemala, the United States, Canada and recently in Trinidad and Tobago.

Following the benefits of the first Cohort in 2021, the second Cohort of Scale Up TT was launched in November 2022 and is currently being rolled out with participants representing 14 local businesses from a diverse range of sectors including manufacturing, distribution, information and communications technology, fashion, consultancy, printing and publishing, and medical services. The overarching goal of this programme is to accelerate growth in sales revenue, exports and employment of participating SMEs.

A few months after completion of the first Scale Up TT, all participating companies experienced growth, with one company reporting an 80 percent growth in exports. Collectively, businesses entered 12 new markets and over 20 new jobs were generated, primarily in high skill areas – all of this over a period of approximately six months from the start of the Cohort. Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry, noting the success of businesses following the completion of the first cohort stated, “It is this success, coupled with the need to ensure that widespread growth is achieved by as many firms as possible, which has underpinned the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s commitment to collaborate with the UTC to execute Cohort 2 of this highly recognized programme.”

For UTC, its involvement in Scale Up TT aligns with the Corporation’s efforts to encourage SMEs to be firmly planted in the country’s business landscape through the expansion of revenue, export and employment. “We value the process of developing strong partnerships and communities, and our business is fundamentally built upon partnerships, collaboration and inclusiveness,” said Nigel Edwards, Executive Director of the Unit Trust Corporation. Mr. Edwards elaborated, “When I look at the present collective and those that went before, what I see is the kernel of sustainable economic growth that will inspire entrepreneurs and business owners throughout Trinidad and Tobago.”

Cohort 2 of the programme commenced in October 2022 and will culminate at the end of February 2023. During these five months, the 14 participating firms have benefitted from expert training and guidance from the leadership team at the EPA. This will equip them with the necessary tools and skills to scale up and boost their businesses resulting in tangible deliverables in the form of increased revenue, employment and exports. The ultimate impact of this highly successful programme is a significant improvement in the contribution of the SME sector to the economy of Trinidad and Tobago, which is a priority of the Government and the private sector.