Delighted to see the BVI getting back on its feet after Hurricane Irma and putting entrepreneurship at the heart of its recovery. Getting people into jobs and supporting the economy is so important for the region to bounce back. I’m proud to see Unite BVI collaborating with Saira Hospitality Pop Up school to give up to 100 BVI students the chance to learn all about the hospitality industry.
They have joined forces with key resorts (including Necker Island, Moskito, Bitter End, Little Dix, and Scrub Island) to give students both hands on experience in hospitality and also a theoretical understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the industry.
Students get hands on experience at Scrub Island Resort but also spend time in the classroom, learning all about the industry and mapping their own career paths within it. They also learn about sustainability, nutrition, personal finance, leadership-thinking and entrepreneurship. It’s fantastic to see the entrepreneurship module being organised taught by BVI entrepreneur Alex Durante, who was given a $10k Unite BVI KickStart loan to help set up her business EC Soap Company. They use BVI farmers and ingredients to create wonderful bath products made locally in the BVI.
It’s important to provide students the opportunity to put into practice what they learn and they have been given the chance to present their ideas to a panel of business experts at the North Sound Pitch. Being able to have a business idea and turn it into a concept that can be sold to a panel of judges is no mean feat and I’d like to give a big congratulations to everyone that took part.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Sjoerd Koster, General Manager of VP Bank and Chad Lettsome, a local Branson Centre BVI entrepreneur and answer some questions from the students. It was an extra surprise for the winning student to be awarded $1000 prize money courtesy of VP Bank. Cathyoliva Richards was so excited to have won first prize with her concept Kid Me For Tonight, a night care facility from 5pm to 7am where parents can drop off their children to be looked after by trained child care professionals and enjoy a night to themselves.
It was great meeting with such a motivated group of students who will leave the pop-up school with the skills needed to build a future in the hospitality industry – whether working for an established hotel or building their own business.
I would love to see the North Sound Pitch become an annual event that is not just limited to Saira students, but entrepreneurs from all over the BVI who want to get their ideas heard.
I hope the pop up school has inspired students that entrepreneurship is a viable option for their future and has given them the tools to make it a reality - head over to Saira Hospitality to find out more.