Charlestown, Nevis (August 23, 2017) --Tourism is a major economic driver in the island of Nevis, and the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) is giving the industry a fresh impetus through its Fresh Start Programme.
Development Banks Manager at the Nevis Branch Ms Hyacinth Pemberton is saying that since the bank introduced the Fresh Start Programme, many young entrepreneurs with brilliant business ideas have come forward and shared them with bank.
A perfect example is Mr John Cornelius Jr. who has been in the food business for most of his life, said Ms Pemberton. When he came to us he was truly looking outwardly as he was looking at the entire economy of Nevis and not just for his personal gain. We felt that the bank had an obligation to give him the fresh start he was looking for.
In his own words, the 38-year-old Mr John Cornelius who hails from Prospect Estate in Nevis has been in the business of food grilling for over 25 years starting with assisting his uncle doing the job of grilling chicken, ribs and fish on the street of Charlestown from the days he (Cornelius) was still in school.
According to Mr Cornelius, his uncle used to target sporting events like cricket, football, basketball, netball and athletics and national events like Culturama when there would be many people in the streets and who would patronise the business. He was a good learner and did not waste the time spent under the tutelage of his uncle.
When I finished school I went straight to work at the Four Seasons Resort, said Mr Cornelius. I was a steward there and then I started doing my own grilling in the streets and then from the streets I went to Sunshines' Bar and Grill where I was a cook for seven years and then I left to operate on my own.
He operated from under two tents with a small bar in the middle on Nevis's iconic Pinney's Beach for about a year to about a year and a half. When the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation (NHLDC) in collaboration with the Nevis Tourism Authority put up some properties for food business at Pinney's Beach, he leased one.
His business goes by the name Weekendz Bar and Grill. He said: It is bigger, I am doing it at a wider scale, instead of doing like food for 30, we are doing like food for 50 and sometimes more. We have the kitchen and everything you need to run a successful food business to serve a wide variety of clienteles including tourists.
It was at that stage that Mr Cornelius approached the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis as he did not have enough capital to equip the new premises with the quality food handling equipment it needed. He says that after he presented his proposal to the bank, he was informed of the Fresh Start Programme under which he ended up benefitting by getting a loan.
Mr Cornelius was not new in this business, explained Ms Pemberton. He was seeking to expand and we realised that his business would impact the economy of Nevis in various ways as food and livestock farmers would directly benefit from him, as well as supermarkets from where he would be buying other items.
The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis Branch Manager for Nevis further observed that Nevis is a high end tourism destination and eating out by tourists has always been an added attraction for Nevis. Finally she looked at the fact that in his business he was going to offer employment to five persons.
Mr Cornelius is proud for having chosen the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis which he says has made a tremendous impact on the economic development of young people in Nevis, and indeed the overall economy of the island he calls home.
Development Bank is doing very good for young people, said Mr Cornelius. It has spread all over, I could name a few people that talk good about the bank. I buy fish from the guy with the boat who was funded by the Development Bank.
There is a young fellow doing trucking; there is the guy who does furniture at Hamilton who talks well of Development Bank. There is a guy over Bath with his bus. I could name a couple of young fellows that the Development Bank has helped.
1: Development Banks Manager for Nevis Ms Hyacinth Pemberton with Mr John Cornelius at his Weekendz Bar and Grill in Pinneys Beach Nevis.
2: Serving clients at the Weekendz Bar and Grill in Pinneys Beach Nevis
3: Mr John Cornelius Jr. and his business partner Ms Larvone Hanley.