In celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and the U.S. Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean are excited to announce the launch of Startup Huddles in Saint Lucia and six Eastern Caribbean countries. These “Huddles” will support local entrepreneurs in honing their pitch skills and discovering solutions to the challenges they face. Key local entrepreneurs serve as StartUp Huddle organizers in their respective countries: Avena Prince (Dominica), Elijah James (Antigua & Barbuda), Michelle Samuel (Saint Lucia), Cardelle Ferguson (Barbados), Tamara Prosper (Grenada), Janeel Boon (St. Kitts & Nevis), and Jeneille Lewis (St. Vincent & the Grenadines). Six of these organizers are also alumni of the U.S. government flagship entrepreneurship exchange program, the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI).
An experiential learning opportunity, Startup Huddle offers a unique program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. The Startup Huddle format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators, and advisers. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
“I’m so excited to launch Startup Huddle Dominica,” said Avena Prince, who is Founder of Royal Globe Inc., a garment manufacturing and education company that has been operating in Dominica since 2015. In 2017, Avena participated in the U.S.-funded YLAI program, where she spent several weeks in the United States networking with other young people throughout the region and developing ideas to launch when she returned home.
“None of this would have been possible without support from both the U.S. Embassy and GEN, and I’m happy that more entrepreneurs across the region will get to access this similar experience,” she satated. “For us, (this huddle) is another way to fulfill Royal Globe’s mission ‘to improve lives by equipping people with skills to enable self-employment and self-sufficiency’.”
For the first huddle, Avena has selected Lydia Davis, the owner of GIM Creations, which specializes in traditional and contemporary headpieces, as well as accessories and home décor accent pieces; and Sade Samuel, owner of Qwick Delivery, a local logistics business which provides delivery services from local suppliers to customers.
The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face. Each event is organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters and publicize the event.
As opposed to a traditional “pitch” environment, Startup Huddle was not created to be critical of entrepreneurs, but rather for the presenters to learn from shared experiences and find ways to support one another as a community.
Startup Huddle is an educational experience for both the audience and the presenters. Presenters are given resources and support to prepare for their presentation and surveyed after their presentation to see what they’ve learned.
The first Startup Huddle event will take place virtually this Saturday, November 21st from 7:00pm to 8:45pm. To get involved in Startup Huddle Dominica, please visit www.royalglobeinc.com/pages/startup-huddle-dominica for more details.