They will benefit from a range of business growth support during a seven-month accelerator programme which includes training, mentoring, access to investors, growth finance, export consultancy, market linkages, and business masterclasses delivered by industry experts in key business sectors. Participants will continue to be supported and monitored for a period of two years to enable them to achieve their growth potential.

Delivered in partnership with Youth Business Trinidad & Tobago (YBTT), Shell LiveWIRE supports innovative growth stage start-ups in three key economic sectors: agriculture and food processing; energy solutions; and recycling and waste management. Participants will also have the opportunity to benefit from a programme of Sector Circles; peer-to-peer technical advisory groups, in the form of webinars involving international alumni from Shell LiveWIRE programmes around the world, who can provide expert insights, knowledge and solutions to challenges faced by the Trinidadian entrepreneurs operating in the key sectors.

A special ‘Orientation and Networking’ event was held by Shell LiveWIRE to enable the entrepreneurs to learn more about the programme, to meet one another and to network with an audience of business leaders and key Shell LiveWIRE programme staff.

The entrepreneurs are all running established small businesses in one of the three industry sectors. Participants in the agriculture and food processing sectors include businesses producing dark chocolate, and a processor of frozen tubers such as cassava and sweet potatoes, as well as agri-businesses focused on crop production and farm to table delivery of produce. Businesses operating in the energy solutions sector include artificial hydropower plant production, and the use of smart technologies to provide alternative energy solutions for homes, while businesses in the recycling and waste management sector range from the production of clocks from recycled vinyl records to environmental composting services.

Speaking at the Orientation and Networking event, Shell LiveWIRE Co-ordinator, Danielle Morong encouraged the entrepreneurs to maximise the opportunity on offer, saying, “We want to see persons able to export products. We want to see job creation and persons accepting investment opportunities. We want to see individuals that after one year, two years and in the future from now, are able to shape the economic landscape of our country as Shell LiveWIRE graduates.”

One of the entrepreneurs participating in the programme is Andrew Bisnath, whose business Al Tech Energy offers alternative energy solutions in renewable energy, energy storage and energy efficiency to both domestic and commercial customers. Andrew is very clear on how he hopes Shell LiveWIRE will take his business to the next level, saying, “I want to improve my business management skills and to expand my network. I also want to obtain the financial assistance that will enable me to grow my business in Trinidad & Tobago and throughout the Caribbean.”

Another entrepreneur, Natthoya Baptiste, whose company, For the Record Ltd, specialises in creating clocks from upcycled vinyl records, is equally excited by the opportunities offered by Shell LiveWIRE for the development of her business, saying, “Shell LiveWIRE presents the perfect opportunity to scale up and internationalise For the Record. The programme will expose us to international expertise and best practice and also help us to strengthen our core through its technical, operational and management training.

“This, when coupled with mentoring, financial incentives and access to well established investors and global networks, makes Shell LiveWIRE an ideal opportunity to enhance our export readiness and ability to stimulate our economy and create jobs.”

Praising the quality of the entrepreneurs to embark on the inaugural programme, Leslie Bowrin, Shell LiveWIRE Trinidad and Tobago Programme Manager said, “I have been extremely impressed with the quality of businesses involved in this first LiveWIRE programme. The entrepreneurs are passionate, focussed and very forward thinking. We at Shell strongly believe that the LiveWIRE programme will make a significant contribution to the success of these businesses.”

Following its successful implementation in Trinidad, Shell LiveWIRE will be expanded to cover Tobago where it will focus on the hospitality and eco-tourism, energy solutions and recycling and waste management sectors, with special emphasis on the role that digital solutions can play in enhancing delivery within these industries.

To watch highlights of the event please click here.