The Fashion Value Chain Investment Programme is a training and mentorship programme intended to work with designers based on their unique business needs. The VCIP programme is the backbone of FashionTT’s plans to develop the fashion sector as outlined by the Strategic Plan for the Fashion Industry of Trinidad and Tobago. Local designers under the VCIP are interviewed and assessed by an independent international panel and are assigned into one of the four levels of the VCIP: The Global Value Chain (GVC) Programme, Non-Global Value Chain (non-GVC) Programme, Business Advisory and Financing Programme and the Strategic Training Programme.
“Since its inception, over 100 designers have been accepted into the programme” explained Chairman of FashionTT, Jason Lindsay. “These persons received support in improving various elements of their businesses by the National Entrepreneurship Development Company Limited (NEDCO) and Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology and consultant, Vincent Quan.”
“The fashion industry is a flourishing one worldwide and Trinidad and Tobago’s industry is on the rise” states FashionTT’s General Manager, Lisa-Marie Daniel. “The fashion sector has been one of the main focus areas for diversification and FashionTT and the Value Chain Investment Programme (VCIP) is taking the local industry to new heights. We are very proud of all the accomplishments these remarkable designers have been able to achieve in such a short time and look forward to what the future has in store. We are extremely grateful for all the support that we have received from everyone in making this initiative a success.”
To date, several designers have expanded their businesses significantly with continued sales increases, expansions in retail distribution and export generation regionally and internationally, the overall increase in sales for the designers within the Non-GVC tier was an estimated 20%, with one designer in the lead with a 59% boost in sales, two designers from this cohort were elevated to the Global Value Chain (GVC) Tier of the VCIP, the highest tier, and participating designers have expanded their reach into international markets, including South Korea, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, US, UK, Samoa, Philippines.
The Business Advisory and Strategic Training tiers of the VCIP are done in collaboration with NEDCO. NEDCO’s role in the FashionTT’s partnership according to Tamara Yee Springer , NEDCO training officer “Our role is to examine and identify gaps in each designer’s business model, structure and operations and recommend solutions for a more sustainable business. We also monitor and measure the impact of the training programme to ensure there are tangible results in terms of learning and income, profit and business growth. We are onboard to bring the business aspect to fashion.
Business Advisory and Financing the third tier of the VCIP. Under the Business Advisory and Financing tier, has forty designers and forth tier, are enrolled. Business Advisory provide one on one mentorship between local designers and NEDCO business advisors. Several designers have accessed financing through the Business Advisory and Financing tier.
In the strategic training level, designers The NEDCO training programme consists of nine modules and all have been fully subscribed: Developing a Business Plan; Record Keeping and Cash Management; Costing and Pricing; Business Taxation / Knowing Your Taxes; Excellence in Customer Service; Marketing For SMEs; Digital Media; Quality Control; and Intellectual Property. Adiola Monsegue, the Managing Director and Lead Designer of Genesis Swimwear Caribbean Limited, and Shelly-Ann Worrell-Neptune, owner of Curshell Styles, an African wear design and production company, both joined the second cohort of the FashionTT programme because they want to have internationally known brands. Monsegue and Worrell-Neptune have already completed the Business Plan Development and Costing and Pricing modules and shared that the courses have helped them a lot.
“I did not know a lot about how you go about planning for the different aspects of a business so the Business Plan course was really very informative. Even though I do costing and pricing at my job, I’m still learning a lot in the Costing and Pricing course and I can see how to apply the learning concepts in my business.” said Monsegue. Worrell-Neptune stated that the training courses have introduced her to many new ideas which are helping her to be more organized and improve her business so she can compete more effectively in the industry. Both students strongly recommend that other fashion designers do the NEDCO training programme and register for FashionTT’s Value Chain Investment Programme. “This is a great idea because many entrepreneurs try to run their business without having the right tools to be successful. I would like to say thank you to NEDCO and FashionTT. I really appreciate that they came together to help us grow and succeed in our business.” added Monsegue.