Now, more than ever, we recognize the importance of self-sufficiency. The DNA will ensure that a thriving Entrepreneurial Ecosystem is promoted in Antigua and Barbuda. Worldwide, some of the most successful businesses are startups such as Instacart, Uber, Airbnb, and Boxed. These companies have benefited from the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem that exists in the United States and the rest of the world. Successful entrepreneurs improve the quality of life with their innovations, provide employment opportunities, and create economic growth.
Cultivating a Entrepreneurial Ecosystem
Restructuring the EDP
One of the most important challenges facing entrepreneurs is the ability to finance their product or service from the time of inception through maturation. Traditionally, entrepreneurs finance early-stage start-ups with personal savings, home equity loans, family loans, and credit card debt. But once those sources have been exhausted, they often look for venture capital sources (often called risk capital).
As the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the DNA will ensure that the Entrepreneurial Development Programme is accessible to all by creating a more user-friendly process that will assist Entrepreneurs to attain all required documentation and resources needed to qualify for the program.
The process will include seminars and workshops on:
- Business Plan Writing
- Financial Projections
- Registering with Social Security, Medical Benefits, and Inland Revenue
- Sales and Marketing
Entrepreneur-in-residence (EIR) programs place real entrepreneurs inside government agencies for limited periods of time. The role of the entrepreneur is to identify and resolve obstacles that stand in the way of job creation.
The EIR program will have two objectives:
- Identify inefficient and duplicative government programs that negatively impact entrepreneurs trying to start or expand a business, and to recommend solutions.
- Provide a point of contact within an agency, a visible advocate and mentor for entrepreneurs who understand their needs, concerns, and frustrations in dealing with government.
The hope is that EIR’s in government will:
- Provide outreach to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
- Provide recommendations on ways to streamline and improve government operations that impact small businesses.
- Recommend ways to improve programs available to entrepreneurs.
- Facilitate meetings and forums to educate entrepreneurs on programs and requirements.
- Provide technical assistance and mentorship to entrepreneurs in navigating government programs and requirements. The goal is to make government programs simpler, easier to access, more efficient, and more responsive to the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The DNA will integrate entrepreneurship into our economic development efforts. While more and more countries recognize the value of the entrepreneurial sector, development agencies often overlook the unique needs and flexibility required of start-up companies and continue to be organized around traditional business retention and incentive-based industry recruitment programs.
Economic development officials often focus on high-profile businesses looking to expand or relocate. This has led to an emphasis on expensive incentive packages designed to train workers, invest in infrastructure, and create a competitive business climate. These economic development tools don’t necessarily help entrepreneurs until their businesses are more established. Focusing on entrepreneurial needs can be a cost-effective and politically palatable use of economic development funds. Entrepreneurs don’t require anywhere near the same scale of investment as traditional economic development incentives. Furthermore, a fairly modest public investment has the potential to reap huge rewards should an entrepreneurial venture flourish.
Incubators & Accelerators
Incubation is a process that accelerates the successful development of start-up and fledgling companies by providing an array of targeted resources and services such as office space and equipment, Internet service, conference rooms, and business support services. Incubator programs are funded by economic development organizations, government entities, and academic institutions and have grown in popularity over the past decade. Policymakers and development officials like incubators because they can be used to provide basic business services to entrepreneurs in underserved urban and rural populations.
Accelerators are similar to incubators in that they are created to provide support for young businesses. While incubators are often geared toward companies in their infancy, accelerators are geared toward slightly more established businesses and often bring in early investors. They are designed to accelerate the trajectory and path of the business, not start it from scratch.
Accelerators will promote growth and sustainability in targeted industries by helping to drive innovation, accelerate commercialization, encourage public-private partnerships, increase access to early-stage capital, and create a strong ecosystem that increases the state’s global competitiveness. As part of the strategy to support these critical industries in their various phases of growth, a DNA Government will offer four types of grants and a global business support program. Grants are available for proof of concept, early-stage capital and retention, infrastructure funding, and advanced industry exports. In addition, a network of consultants and an export training program will be available.
Develop Entrepreneur Networks
Networks of entrepreneurs facilitate new businesses and help existing ones grow. The DNA Administration will promote formal networks to bring entrepreneurs together with each other and third-party investors. The network will provide advisory and technical assistance to entrepreneurs, assist and provide support to entrepreneurs seeking government grant funding, oversee a network of angel investors, and oversee the Entrepreneurship Development Fund. We will create entrepreneur centers that offer business counseling as well as workshops and other training resources for entrepreneurs.