The Cluster Linked Incubator Model for Business (CLIMB) is a new initiative proposed by the Office for Private Sector Relations (OPSR) for implementation under the SFA 2002 funding cycle. This Programme seeks to create and sustain small business incubators to help Saint Lucia businesses adapt to the challenges of a CARICOM Single Market economy. Based on a formal review of the best practices in incubators, a methodology was developed for the Saint Lucian environment. In this model a much more extensive program of business training is recommended to compensate for the relative inexperience of small business entrepreneurs.

The CLIMB programme incorporates elements of conventional business clusters and incubator models to create unique construction of delivery of business development assistance that is relevant to the special circumstances of Saint Lucia's SMEs. These circumstances are briefly summarized as follows:

• Enterprises are mainly SMEs and operate in the informal sector.
• Businesses operators are generally unskilled in core management functions.
• Business enterprises have similar needs but are involved in different sectors and activities creating a heterogeneous mix.
• The enterprises requiring assistance are geographically dispersed throughout the country and a significant proportion are located in the rural areas.
• There is tremendous pressure for effective delivery of assistance in an environment of increasing and intense competition and there is great demand for such assistance.
• Businesses at generally at the infancy stage and those that are older generally have little or no financial or performance records.
• There is not a strong culture of networking and alliance building among businesses.

Programme Benefits

In summary the main objectives and outputs of the CLIMB programme can be listed as follows:


• Increase the likelihood of business success during the early years.
• Enable business owners to focus their energies on product development and provide assistance with operational matters.
• Promote and teach best practice methods in business management.


• Strengthening through appropriate business management training, technological upgrading and technical support.
• Strengthening of business enterprises in the rural communities.
• Increased membership in local Business associations.
• Enhanced profitability and performance of SMEs.
• Greater degree of networking and collaboration among SMEs.
• Incorporation / formalization of the operation of a large number of SMEs.
• Increased viability of a large number of SMEs in Saint Lucia.
• Possibly the creation of an SME Equity Financing Scheme.
• It is hoped that with support, these incubated businesses will be able to create jobs as they grow and become profitable.


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