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Invest Turks and Caicos boosts economy with MSME Program

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Written By: Ruthea Robinson

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2023 – Ms. Robinson is currently participating in the TCI National Internship and Apprenticeship Program, which is being conducted by Career Services under the Ministry of Education. She is a student journalist, podcaster, and documentarian studying at Leeds Trinity University, Leeds, United Kingdom.

Lead: Kacy Higgs became one of the first awardees of Invest TCI ’s MSME program and now her products can be found on shelves in IGA

The entrepreneurial spirit has long existed in the Turks and Caicos Islands, from the straw markets to boat tours. Carrying on that spirit, Kacy Higgs managed to revitalize an outdated industry with the support of Invest Turks and Caicos’ MSME program.

Caicos Traditions, the brand, started with Kacy Higgs leaving her corporate job to tend crops in her backyard. She initially gave away the produce to friends and family or sell it at pop-up markets. Now her products are sold alongside international brands in IGA.

Higgs modernized the traditional way of farming by adding her own “Caicos touch” to every level of the business, from purchasing seeds from neighbouring countries and experimenting with local seeds, to producing her signature corn flour and grits to integrating modern machinery and packaging.

Farming in Turks and Caicos Islands today has proven to be quite the challenge compared to modern consumption practices that rely heavily on importing food; back then, staple foods like corn, beans, cassava, and pumpkins were readily accessible in these islands.

Climate change, lack of affordable irrigation systems, sparse rainfall, and increasing frequency of hurricanes are all factors that have discouraged many local farmers. Higgs experienced this firsthand after Hurricane Fiona destroyed her bean supply in 2022.

Outside of the challenges she’s faced, Higgs shared that she has had many opportunities granted over the years, kicking off with Invest TC’s approval of her courageous business plan. Caicos Traditions was among the first businesses accepted into the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise program.

The MSME Program serves as a collaboration between Invest Turks and Caicos and the government in the form of financial assistance. The program provides small businesses financial support, technical assistance, and duty concessions.

Caicos Traditions was awarded a $25,000 package, including a $10,000 cash grant, $10,000 duties concessions, and $5,000 digital/marketing assistance.

When speaking about the impact of the cash grants, Vice President of Small and Medium Enterprise Development at Invest Turks and Caicos, Alexa Cooper, directly referenced Invest Turks and Caicos’ past use of the term ‘free money,’ saying: “It’s not a loan — it is more like free money but not really — you have certain obligations that you need to meet within the program.”

These obligations include being monitored for the five years that the business is a part of the program and complying with rigorous checks and inspections, all while meeting agreed-upon milestones.

Kacy Higgs admitted that she needed help understanding how to take advantage of the award initially. However, the team behind the MSME program was understanding and lenient enough to accommodate her.

She said: “I had a choice, start with the little that I have and hit the road running or wait for more, and I’m happy that I started with their push,”

Kacy Higgs hopes to refresh the way we think about produce in the TCI by showcasing the vitality of the agriculture industry in North Caicos.

Her collaboration with the MSME program contributed to the growth and development of the program, making it more widely accessible to other local businesses.

She encourages local entrepreneurs to chase their dreams, saying: “There is no stupid dream. If you look around Turks and Caicos, there are so many niche markets that are waiting to be tapped into.”

Picture: Ms. Kacy Higgs with her products.

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Two Deaths on Monday July 8, Police report on Sudden Death and Unresponsive Male

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force are actively investigating separate sudden deaths that occurred in South Caicos and Providenciales.

On Monday, July 8th, 2024, shortly after 10 a.m., the Police Control Room received a call reporting that a male employee had fallen from the fourth floor of a Resort in South Caicos.

Officers and medical personnel were dispatched, and upon arrival at the resort, officers were told that the employee was fixing an air-conditioning unit when he fell off a ladder.  The male was transported to the South Caicos Clinic for treatment but was pronounced dead at 11:47 AM.

The deceased has been identified as a 47-year-old Indian national, whose name is being withheld at this time, pending the next of kin being informed.

The second incident occurred shortly after noon in Providenciales.

Officers of the RT&CIPF responded to a report made at a Resort located along Lower Bight Providenciales. Upon arrival at the scene, officers observed a male lying on his back on the beach, surrounded by a group of people performing chest compressions. The victim had been removed from the water after being discovered floating.

The 52-year-old victim was rushed to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center via ambulance but sadly passed away.

The RT&CIPF extends condolences to the family and friends of the deceased men

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TCI Cabinet agrees to subsidise South Caicos international flights in May 29th meeting

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor Anya Williams chaired the 16th meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday May 29th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members of Cabinet were present with the exception of Governor H.E. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Approved the Statutory Bodies 4th Quarter Special Purpose Financial Report for FY 2023-2024.
  2. Approved the 4th Quarter Financial Report for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and agreed for the report to be published on the government’s website.
  3. Granted approval under Refurbishment Policy for a duty concession on the importation of construction, materials, furniture, fixtures, and fittings for the Palms Resort.
  4. Granted approval of the request from the Ministry of Public Safety to access the Contingency Fund to support immediately required security arrangements.
  5. Did not support the request for the waiver of Import Customs Duty.
  6. Granted approval for the disposal of 73,000 cubic yards/meters of silt that will be dredged from the seabed during the South Dock Redevelopment Project.
  7. Granted approval for amendments to the Electricity Ordinance and approved Draft Control of Capital Investment Policy which would allow for advance approval of any significant capital expenditures by a public supplier.
  8. Granted approval for the reappointment of the following persons to the Electricity Board for a period of one (1) year commencing May 21, 2024: John Ariza-Chairman, Master Electrical, Richard Harvey-Member, Electrical Contractors, Menelik Astwood-Member TCICC, James Fulford-Member Electrical Contractors, Director of Planning-Dainer Lightbourne-ex-officio, Energy and Utilities Commission-Delano Arthur-ex-officio and Permanent Secretary (MPSU) Mrs. Bridgette Newman ex-officio, and Shanetta Thompson appointed as Secretary for a period of 2 years.
  9. Granted approval for a long-term lease over Parcels 10506/29 South Suburbs, Grand Turk for the development of a cruise stop over resort type facility.
  10. Noted the findings of the Registrar and approved an interim settlement to be paid in respect of Interim Certificate of Taxation re: CL 42/21 Thanbyrase Srikanth et al v Director of Immigration et al-Cost Certificate)
  11. Granted approval of the Draft District Administration Bill 2024 and noted the stakeholder consultation plan that was scheduled to be conducted throughout the islands.
  12. Noted the previous approval for the budget reallocation within the DMMO Experience Turks and Caicos to fund the minimum revenue guarantee (MRG) in respect to international airlift to the island of South Caicos

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Proposed Amendments for Business Licensing in TCI heard at June 4 Cabinet Meeting  

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Acting Governor Anya Williams chaired the 17th meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday June 4th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members of Cabinet were present with the exception of Governor H.E. Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, Attorney General Hon. Rhondalee Knowles and the Ministers of Home Affairs and Public Safety and Utilities.  Ms. Yaa McCartney attended in the capacity of Acting Attorney General.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Received a presentation from the Ministry of Finance on the proposed amendments to Business Licensing which was being put forward as a result of the consultations that had taken place and agreed next steps.

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