Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 2, 2018 (DBSKN) -- Adding value to the rural St. Kitts had always been Mrs Tisma Davis cherished dream. After eight years of doing practical meat processing work and having attended a number of workshops that helped sharpen her skills, she felt time was ripe to put her best foot forward and realise her dream.
She tested the waters and with financial and technical support from the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) today Mrs Tisma Davis and her husband Mr Damion Davis are the proprietors of Meat Centre, a new food processing establishment on the Island Main Road in Lodge Village, St. Kitts.
I have been in the meat processing business for over eight years, have been to a lot of different workshops to support this area, said Mrs Davis. I learnt about deboning the different areas of the animals so I can debone the animals myself, which is a good background for this type of business.
The over eight years she had been in the meat processing business working for different well established businesses, coupled with her husbands background in fish processing business, Mrs Davis felt it was time to open their own business and have it located in rural St. Kitts. She reasoned that if persons in the areas neighboring Lodge Village wanted choice meat and meat products, why did they have to travel to Basseterre?
Her other reasoning was why did livestock farmers in the villages have to go all the way to Basseterre to sell their animals? Opening the Meat Centre was the one sure way of adding holistic value to her village. While the two were adequately qualified to set up such a business, it required capital which she and her husband did not have.
I decided to take a leap of faith and go to Development Bank and give them my proposal, recalled Mrs Davis. From there my business came about, which is the Meat Centre. We have decided to not just do the usual that people in meat processing would do. We want to go into different areas, the different types of meats and do other products, not just ground beef and burger patties.
Recently she had the honor to show Development Banks Business Support Officer, Mr Manasses Huggins, around the business and how it has been doing since it opened earlier this year.
We also want to go a little beyond meat as well, not in the near future, but somewhere down the line where we could incorporate our own sauces, she informed Mr Huggins. I already have a name for it - Volcanic Eruption which would be our homemade pepper sauce. We have done it before, at home, and people we have given it to like it a lot.
According to Mr Davis, it had taken them about two years of planning for the business and when they felt time was ripe, they approached the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, which was favourable to their request. They were able to buy the needed equipment to run the business, as well as an all-purpose vehicle they use to not only transport their products, but also go into the rough terrain as they interact with livestock farmers.
That is what Development Bank is there for, observed Mr Davis. They help the people that have no hope. So when you go to them, hope is possible. Basically you are in the Federation and there are not much jobs around right now. We thought how we can provide for ourselves and even create a few jobs for other individuals.
Added Mr Davis: Right now I am thinking about employing four persons but when the business is in full bloom, I will need about thirteen persons. That is the volume of products I am planning to put out there. In the next two weeks to one month we will be able to have at least two people on board.
He further explained that at the moment they are trying to enlist more commercial clients and once that is achieved, they then will need extra hands. According to Mr Davis, they are not just looking at the local market, but also in Nevis and the neighboring Dutch islands of St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.
The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis official, Business Support Officer Mr Manasses Huggins, explained that his organisation is keen and has been promoting businesses that open practical avenues for small entrepreneurs to contribute to the economic development of the country.
This meat business presents a win-win situation for not only the proprietors, but for the local livestock farmers who now have an added outlet for their products, explained Mr Huggins. We are also taking into consideration that the business will create direct employment as it grows, while it offers the local community an opportunity to access quality meat products right at their doorsteps.
1: Mrs Tisma outside Meat Centre on Island Main Road in Lodge Village, with her husband Mr Damion Davis (right) and Development Bank official Mr Manasses Huggins.
2: Mr Manasses Huggins watches as Mr and Mrs Davis demonstrate some of the processes.
3: Mrs Tisma Davis checks the contents of one of the freezers.
4: The perfect partnership: Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis Business Support Officer Mr Manasses Huggins with Meat Centre's proprietor Mrs Tisma Huggins.