Community Business Revitalization Project officially launched in Fond St. Jacques
Thursday, February 29, 2024
by Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan)

A Community Business Revitalization Project (CBRP) was officially launched in Fond St. Jacques—the first of four communities—on Friday, February 16.

The official launch ceremony was held at the newly-refurbished Fond St. Jacques Interpretation Centre which is among four community business centres that will be built under the project.

The commissioning of the Fond St. Jacques Interpretation Centre and commencement of capacity building training for small businesses in the community will give entrepreneurs in the west coast community a competitive edge.

“This is not just a physical space for promoting local products and services; it is also a symbol of our shared vision for a thriving and interconnected community where opportunities abound,” H.E. Peter Chia-Yen Chen, Taiwan’s Ambassador to Saint Lucia, at the ceremony. “We hope the Fond St. Jacques Interpretation Centre could bring more tourists to Soufriere, including the Agro-Tourism Park, and be a model for the other three community business centres.”

The launch also included the official publishing of a new logo collaboratively designed by the National Taichung University of Science and Technology in Taiwan and the Fond St. Jacques Development Committee. Ambassador Chen said the logo serves as a distinctive identifier for products in the region and represents a successful case of bilateral cooperation.

“The logo will be utilized in product development, with current optimizations for items such as popsicles and green banana flour, as well as in the creation of community-exclusive postcards,” Ambassador Chen said. “Additionally, it will be employed for integrated marketing purposes, specifically catering to micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) within the community.”

Ambassador Chen commended Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, for her great leadership, as well as officials from the Ministry of Commerce, and colleagues from the Taiwan Technical Mission. He also thanked everyone else who contributed to the project’s success, including community leaders, local businesses, volunteers and supporters.

“Your dedication has made this project a reality, and I am confident that the Fond St. Jacques Interpretation Centre will serve as a catalyst for positive change and growth in our community,” Ambassador Chen noted. “Together, let us make the Fond St. Jacques Interpretation Centre a beacon of inspiration and a source of empowerment for local business.”

Hon. Emma Hippolyte, who is also Parliamentary Representative for Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques, said the community’s charm and relatively unspoiled nature makes it a prime off-the-beaten-path eco-tourism destination and a reliable agricultural food source. To ensure that the project remains successful, she urged community members to take pride in its upkeep while maximizing its use.

“This targeted project presents us with some key objectives, namely, (1) to assist the Ministry of Commerce with capacity building in business coaching for micro, small and medium enterprises; (2) to strengthen product design and marketing of community businesses; and (3) to develop impactful community branding and promotion,” she said. 

She also called for more support from consumers for local businesses: “Let us consider the significance of supporting the community-based businesses. These establishments form the economic foundation and pillars of our communities. They provide employment opportunities, contribute significantly to the local economy, and infuse our neighbourhoods with their unique characters.” 

Mr. Louis Tsou, Project Manager from the Taiwan Technical Mission (TTM), said the new logo serves as a dynamic tool for product development. With the revamping of the popsicle and green fig flour labeling and crafted exclusive postcards for the community, he said the logo becomes a force for unity and empowerment among the local businesses.

“To bolster the capabilities of our local development committees and MSMEs, we’re teaming up with the Soufriere Regional Development Foundation and the Fond St. Jacques Development Committee,” Tsou remarked. “Together, we’re paving the way for community business training programmes, covering customer service, book-keeping, environmental sustainability, and marketing – we’re trying to equip the community businesses with the tools they need to thrive.”

Meanwhile, Mrs. Sandra Prospere, President of the Fond St. Jacques Development Committee, said Fond St. Jacques, once known as the Breadbasket of Saint Lucia, is a rich agricultural community with an abundance of root crops and many other resources that people use to produce business start-ups. She said the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst from which many small businesses sprung. Business can only get better with the latest project, she said.

“The Interpretation Centre, a gift from the Taiwanese Government, will not only speak to the vistas of the community, but will also showcase the local products produced by the people of Fond St. Jacques, such as green fig flour and fruit popsicles from local ingredients under the brand, Jacq-Co Valley Products Ltd,” Prospere said. “To our community entrepreneurs, I urge you to make today not just an event, but the beginning of a shared experience that we will use to bring visitors into the community.”