The small and medium enterprise (SME) sector is to get a big boost with the partnership forged by National Commercial Bank (NCB) and RevUp Caribbean, a new business incubator programme launched by venture capitalist, FirstAngelsJA.
This first-of-its-kind venture in the Caribbean is designed for growth-minded and equity-seeking SMEs. NCB will provide support in the form of sponsorship for their existing SME customers to participate in a training programme specially designed to enable SMEs to realise their true potential.
NCB sees this venture as perfectly aligned with its long-standing commitment to the SME segment and the role this very critical segment plays in nation-building. Tanya Allgrove, assistant general manager SME Business for NCB highlighted that, “The RevUp programme is very timely and will aid in providing the type of support and development our SMEs require, to help to bridge the gap towards becoming more sustainable and profitable businesses, creating employment opportunities, building wealth and growing the economy.”
She also highlighted that “while many entrepreneurs are good at the development and sales of their core products and services, they tend to struggle to build the basic supporting infrastructure in a way that will allow them to successfully run and scale the business, which poses a stumbling block for SMEs attempting to secure financing for business growth”.
Allgrove highlighted that “partnering with RevUp Caribbean is another way in which NCB bolsters its commitment to supporting entrepreneurs by providing access to the essential tools and mentorship to build those capabilities and take their businesses to the next level.”
Managing director of RevUp Caribbean, Sandra Glasgow pointed out that “RevUp is serving two distinct clientele: equity-seeking, early stage companies that are looking for investors to finance the growth of their ventures; and growth-seeking, established companies that are seeking to grow and scale profitably and sustainably and are seeking access to financing that is appropriate for their stage of growth.”
For the incubation programme, the task is to identify the best founders of early stage ventures that have the potential for high growth so they can access SMART capital by the end of the incubation period, or shortly after. As the first business incubator of its kind in the Caribbean, RevUp is looking to make its impact felt regionally, as activities will build up the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem and increase economic growth.
“Client selection and graduation are critical to successful business incubation,” Glasgow added, noting that “The screening process is designed to meet RevUp's mission and ensure that the firms selected will benefit from its value-added services.” On the other hand, Allgrove added that “all applicants for the training programme track will be vetted to ensure they are in fact customers of NCB and in good standing with the bank”.
Allgrove was keen to urge SMEs to take advantage of RevUp Caribbean's support mechanism, whose mandate is to have SMEs who have successfully completed the programme “walk away with a stronger, more resilient business which, by extension, will improve access to capital”.
RevUp Caribbean's vision is to create a future in which entrepreneurial founders and their teams are well prepared, through business incubation, to successfully attract capital and enable them to reach their full and unique potential — building sustainable high-growth, innovative businesses. This early stage of NCB's partnership is to ensure sustainability, with a long-term outlook to build on the current deliverables.