Moving to Vieux Fort for the second of many Entrepreneurship Meet-Ups, Invest Saint Lucia played its part in bringing entrepreneurs together to network, showcase products and gain information on intentionally handling legal aspects of running an enterprise as part of the 5th Annual Business Month.
For the November 27, 2019 event, the format deviated from the panel discussion from the first meet-up at Pointe Seraphine in September, to a one-man presentation on business law by Mr Thomas Theobalds.
He began by elaborating on the process of franchising and the pros and cons associated with the practice, before he touched on topics including taxation and intellectual property rights and recommended to his listeners that they evaluate the legal risks and benefits of the type of business before diving into the venture.
Theobalds offered some sound advice tailored to the southern audience as he referenced the Special Development Areas Act, 1998. He encouraged business owners to invest in the locations listed on the Act and to take advantage of these opportunities while they still exist. Theobalds also reminded entrepreneurs of the market and traffic advantages afforded to southerners, and to which northern businesses do not have access.
Being refreshing, informative and insightful, Theobalds’ talk garnered much enthusiasm from attendees.
The Southern Business Association was a key partner in bringing this event to fruition and many of its members came out to showcase products and services. Of notable mention was Shop D’ Caribbean’s display and owner Darrion Louis who recently won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award presented by Invest Saint Lucia at the 2019 Saint Lucia Business Awards.
He said, “The presentation hit home especially the intellectual property rights part. It’s a big issue and having someone to shed some light on it is really beneficial. It is important that entrepreneurs who are starting off get this opportunity because this would have been so useful if I had it three years ago. It will save red tape, headaches and money.”
The Entrepreneurship Meet-Up, Louis says, is something which should be implemented several times in the year as a sort of rejuvenation exercise for business owners trying to “keep motivated in the journey”.
Harnel Mathurin of Agro-Boost—a local producer of household cleaners and fertilisers—said that Theobalds’ session was timely as he is considering exporting his products. “It was so nice for someone to provide advice on copyright and trademarks,” he said, “For folks like myself, we tend to concentrate on the product rather than the business. Coming to these events you really get to understand that it’s not just about your product. If you have a business, it’s much more than just having a great product. That’s one of the reasons why I loved this event. I think it’s time to get a lawyer!”
As the year comes to an end, Invest Saint Lucia has already began identifying opportunities to respond to these types of requests and is planning on maintaining productive relationships with organisations such as the Southern Business Association.