COSTAATT & THE BOSTON PLEDGE
The College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) and The Boston Pledge (TBP), of Boston, Massachusetts USA, has collaborated to bring to Trinidad and Tobago an unprecedented initiative in the area of mentorship for entrepreneurship and small business development. Senator the Honourable Fazal Karim, Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training (MTEST) officially launched the Trinidad and Tobago Entrepreneurship Springboard Programme (TTESP) at City Hall, San Fernando on Saturday March 02, 2013.
The TTESP was specifically developed by The Boston Pledge (TBP), an international non-profit organization affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tufts University of Massachusetts, USA. The programme is aimed at locating, educating and cultivating entrepreneurs to accelerate small business development. The Boston Pledge representatives included founder Partha Ghosh, of strategic and policy consulting firm, Partha S Ghosh and Associates; Sarojit Malik, founder and Managing Director of Access International Partners; Rex du Pont, PhD, former Deputy Vice-President of the Export-Import Bank of the United States; and Prasheel Vissapragada, analyst at Access International Capital.
Through the COSTAATT – TBP collaboration, a series of free, public workshops were held throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The one-day workshops specifically targeted budding entrepreneurs and owners of small to medium-sized enterprises. Over 300 citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have benefitted from this joint effort, as participants at the three workshops were given the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentoring from the TBP representatives.
Speaking at the San Fernando launch of the workshop, Minister Karim highlighted the importance and relevance of the TTESP initiative. He urged the entrepreneurs in attendance to seize the opportunities available to them. Minister Karim stated that it was time to further develop the brainpower of our citizens, which will lead to greater idea generation and a more productive workforce. He noted that the goal of the TTESP was in keeping with his Ministry’s motto of ‘building the brains’ of the people of Trinidad and Tobago
Senator the Honourable Lyndira Oudit, Vice President of the Senate and Director of Business Development at COSTAATT, who spearheaded efforts to bring The Boston Pledge to Trinidad and Tobago noted that the TTESP would take business mentoring to a new level in the country.
Representing the COSTAATT Board of Trustees, Vice-Chairman Dr. Arthur Potts, hailed the collaborative venture as a milestone achievement for the College and commended all who attended the workshops.
The TTESP programme is an integral part of COSTAATT’s efforts at institutionalizing entrepreneurial capacity in its curriculum and co-curriculum. The programme complements the College’s other pioneering efforts in this area including the launch of the country’s first Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Entrepreneurship, the introduction of a mandatory course in Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship for all degree-seeking students, and the launch in 2012 of a faculty development programme in entrepreneurship education in collaboration with Babson College of the United States.
The TTESP will allow for future exchange programmes, internship opportunities and on-site volunteer consultations with participating delegates when the additional phases of the programme are rolled out.
Also speaking at the workshops were Senator the Honourable Devant Maharaj, Minister of Food Production; the Honourable Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, Minister in the Ministry of People and Social Development and Member of Parliament for Tobago East; Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Small and Micro Enterprise Development, Ms. Cheryl Ann Hayes; Tobago House of Assembly (THA) representative Ms. Denelle Gavianne Smith and Mr. Thomas Smitham, Chargé d’Affaires for the US Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago.