Small businesses to get a boost from a new sustainable tourism project

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Over 150 small businesses across Jamaica are set to receive support from the ‘Big Up Small Business’ initiative.

This new TUI Care Foundation project aims to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to connect to the tourism sector and will run until December 2021. Working in partnership with sustainable tourism experts, the Travel Foundation and the Tourism Product Development company Limited (TPDCo), the initiative will help small businesses to adapt their offerings and promote it to hotels, tourists and other stakeholders within the tourism sector.

Those who take part in the initiative, including accommodation providers, community enterprises, craft producers and attraction providers, will receive training and marketing support to improve their business and better understand international visitor expectations and requirements. The project will also create new opportunities for the entrepreneurs to connect with, and promote to, tourists and travel businesses, and help to access grants and new investment. 

Furthermore, ten entrepreneurs, selected by an expert panel to be “beacon businesses”, will be given more intensive, bespoke support including mentoring, and guidance from well-known travel industry experts. The most outstanding business, at the end of the project will be awarded a cash prize.

According to Alexander Panczuk, Executive Director External Affairs and Development at TUI Care Foundation “Small businesses are the engine of the Jamaican economy and vital for employment and innovation, and tourism is a sector that fuels that. With the right conditions, tourism has great potential to enable even more small businesses to prosper. With the support of this project, entrepreneurs will have the best chance to make the most of Jamaica’s thriving visitor economy, and this in turn will enhance Jamaica’s tourist offering. There is a wealth of uniquely Jamaican crafts, attractions and experiences out there waiting to be discovered.”

The “Big Up Small Business” initiative follows on from an earlier successful project based in Montego Bay from the same three organisations. That project resulted in 14,000 more tourists visiting attractions, and a four-fold increase in tourists going to the Harbour Street Craft Market after traders there received a range of advice and support.

Coral Purvil-Williams, project coordinator at the Travel Foundation, said: “Working again with TPDCo, TUI Care Foundation and travel companies, we are going to provide small businesses with amazing opportunities to connect with Jamaica’s international tourism industry. I would urge any entrepreneur with an interest in the tourism sector to look out for an invitation to our workshops and to apply to be one of our ten beacon businesses who will really get a head start.”

The initiative kicks off in November with free workshops in Negril, Portland and the South Coast, and further events in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston. To find out more and to apply to become a beacon business, visit www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk/big-up-small-business

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