2009 SLCSI Official Launch
The SLCSI was officially launched in 2009 as the lead business support organization for Saint Lucia’s services sector, to promote global relationships, and support the development of services in all professional and skilled areas.
2010 – Membership Mobilization – Growing the SLCSI
Following its launch, the SLCSI began mobilizing service providers into professional associations. Some of the SLCSI’s Member Associations include, St. Lucia Institute of Architects, St. Lucia Institute of Surveyors, the Association of Professional Engineers of St. Lucia, the Association of Management Consultants of St. Lucia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of St. Lucia. The SLCSI was instrumental in the formation and incorporation of the St. Lucia Association of Information Communication Technology (SLICTA), the Hair and Beauty Spa Association, Professional in Action for Creative Enterprise (PACE) and most recently the Association of Professional Photographers. The SLCSI has also recently expanded its membership to include the St. Lucia Floral Co-operative Society Limited, he Audio Visual and Film Association, Institute of Construction, the Air Condition and Refrigeration Association.
2011 Resource Mobilization/the CARTFund Project
In October of 2011, the SLCSI was awarded grant funding from the Caribbean Aid for Trade Regional Integration Trust Fund (CARTFund) for the execution of a twenty-one (21) month project entitled “Developing Saint Lucia’s Services Sector”. The Government of Saint Lucia provided counterpart funding with in-kind contributions from SLCSI and service providers. The CARTFund Project was implemented over the period October 2011 to June 2013. CARTFund was established by the United Kingdom (UK) government and is administered by the Caribbean Development Bank. CDB commended SLCSI as having made “the most measurable progress among other coalitions in the region, in improving the export readiness of service providers and supporting market penetration efforts which have a high potential of leading to actual export of services.” The CARTFund Project is part of the UK government’s overall regional strategic support programme to generate momentum on the implementation of the CARIFORUM EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the CARICOM Single Market.
2012 Services Sector Study
The first major initiative under the CARTFund Project was a study of the services sector in St. Lucia in September 2012. The study, undertaken by Consultant, Ramesh Chaitoo, produced a Services Policy White Paper. His report cited the main challenges and shortcomings of the services sector in Saint Lucia as lack of adequate regulations and incentives for services investment, the small size of firms, lack of entrepreneurship skills, unavailability of finance for investment in services and a lack of intelligence on foreign markets. The Chaitoo Report recommended a clear policy and regulatory framework for services, greater access to finance, performance driven incentives, and strategic partnerships – to make local service firms more globally competitive. The Study also recommended the strengthening of linkages within the services sector and other productive sectors. It also called for investment in human resources through skills training, certification and the adoption of standards across service industries.
2012 Developing Service Standards – Health & Wellness Sector
In 2012, the Saint Lucia Coalition of Service Industries (SLCSI), in collaboration with the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) developed a Code of Practice for the Beauty and Wellness Sector. The Code, titled SLCP 14:2012 was approved by the Standards Council in November of 2012.
The new national Code of Practice was developed to provide guidelines as a basis for establishing and operating Beauty and Wellness facilities in St. Lucia, according to best hygiene and safety practices. Among the factors which precipitated formulation of the Code were:
1. The increase in demand for the provision of safe and hygienic services
2. The need for updated guidelines in keeping with scientific and technological advances within the industry
3. The need to provide quality services, consistent with improved customer satisfaction, safety and security
4. The need to promote sustainable development and care for the environment through proper waste disposal practices
Consequently, the Code of Practice establishes the minimum requirements for the provision of quality services by beauty and wellness practitioners.
2015 Services Go Global – Creating Export-Ready Service Firms
The “Services Go Global” Export-Ready Programme was developed by the Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA), Global Links Network, German International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Caribbean Network of Service Coalitions (CNSC). This Export Development Programme aims to assist service firms in improving their competitiveness and achieving success in the global marketplace; Increase service exports and develop and increase growth of the Services Sector.
Services Go Global is an instructor-led, needs and competency based export programme for service providers. It is a regional programme that adopts the GATS Modes of delivering services and follows a logical, sequenced approach to exporting – a Roadmap that takes exporters through four stages and twelve modules of export preparation, based on globally accepted strategies and best practices. The completion of each module allows gradual preparation of an Export Plan by participants. The Programme has trained and certified some fifteen (15) regional trainers to facilitate training across the CSNC membership.
Training is being delivered by these certified trainers and it targets small and medium enterprises (SME) or service providers within the Services Sector to:
- Become competitive and penetrate new market regionally and internationally
- Boost innovation and competitiveness through exposure to new ideas
- Develop an Export Plan for their business
- Gain certification for becoming export-ready
- Earn foreign exchange and increase profits
- Increase their market share and specialise
- Enhance credibility through participation in the global market-place
To date, the SLCSI has trained approximately ten (10) service providers in Export Development which was facilitated by Keith Millar and Claudius Francis. The SLCSI plans to get an additional ten (10) service providers export-ready by April 2017.
2015 Training and Certification/Enhancing Competitiveness
Saint Lucia now has the highest number of Certified Management Consultants (CMCs) in the Caribbean. In November of 2015, Nine (9) St. Lucian professionals earned the designation of Certified Management Consultant – CMC – taking the total number of Certified Management Consultants on the island to 10. Of the 26 CMCs in the Caribbean, Barbados has 5, Trinidad has 4, Jamaica, Suriname and Bahamas each have 2, and Dominica has 1. The CMC Certification is the result of a collaborative effort between the SLCSI, the Association of Management Consultants of Saint Lucia (AMCS) and the Caribbean Institute of Certified Management Consultants (CICMC). Certified Management Consultants are bound by Ethical Standards, as well as a professional Code of Conduct, and must be recertified every 3 years by the International Council. Twenty three (23) Spa Therapists have also attained Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) Certificates in Massage Therapy – Level 3 – having successfully completed the TVET Prior Learning Assessment and Certification Programme. With the newly acquired Certification, the therapists can now move freely within CARICOM under the CSME free movement of persons’ regime, and offer their services to a broader client base.
2015/2016 Incentives for Growth/Building the Legislation Framework
SLCSI has received a grant from the CARTFund to improve the operating environment for the services sector. It includes the drafting of fiscal incentives legislation for the support and growth of the Saint Lucia’s services sector. The Services Sector Incentives Bill provides for the establishment of an incentives framework to facilitate and encourage the sustainable growth and development of specific areas of the services sector. The new incentive regime targeted at the Services Sector is expected to contribute towards positive economic development. The sectors specifically targeted are Creative Industries, Professional Services, Spa and Wellness, as well as Information and Communication Technology services.
2016 Towards a National Services Policy
The Draft Services Policy, Strategy and Action Plan is completed and has been submitted to Government by the Consultants – Chaitoo and Associates. The formulation of a National Services Policy, Strategy and Action Plan is perhaps the single most significant undertaking for the Services Sector in Saint Lucia. It has far-reaching implications for the viability, growth and development of service industries on the island. It is hoped that this policy initiative will serve as a catalyst for a more robust and export-oriented services sector, and better position Saint Lucia to take advantage of opportunities for trade in services within the OECS, CARICOM/CARIFORUM, and the EU, under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
2016 – 2017 Creating the Enabling Environment for Trade in Services
SLCSI has secured funding from the CDB to undertake four key consultancies for Beauty and Wellness Standards, Services Marketing, Services Sector Training and the Upgrade of Data Software. The planned outputs of this project include:
- An operational SLCSI Business Services Unit (BSU) that facilitates the delivery of training and other business support services to service providers.
- An expanded/upgraded SLCSI database of service providers in Saint Lucia’s priority service industries, using data collected under the CARTFund-financed project; from the national registry of service providers; and through the collection of primary data, as relevant
- Export development services delivered to enterprises in the four priority industries through SLCSI’s BSU in accordance with the Services Sector Policy developed under the CARTFund-financed project; the Business and Operating Plan for the BSU; building on the knowledge and skills obtained through the GIZ and CEDA Prorgamme.
The grant provides additional funding for:
- Implementation of the Electronic Transactions Act, the Data Protection Act, and the Computer Misuse Act – which were passed in Saint Lucia. It also makes provision for an E-Commerce Policy, through the development of regulations and standards, and the convening of sensitization and awareness meetings, as well as capacity building, to enforce the legislation.
- Technical support to solopreneurs to develop business development plans to build their businesses and become more competitive.