Michelle Butler won the top prize of $15,000 in the Royal Caribbean Kick Starter Competition.

Butler is the founder of Performing Spaces “an organization aimed at revolutionizing the creative and cultural arts industry in The Bahamas.  With a focus on youths, we aim to harness the creative gifts of individuals and to empower them to reach their full potential.” Butler spoke to members of the media about her achievement on the sidelines of the ceremony held on Wednesday. “This is not just a win for me and my business, its a win for the wider creative industry as well as the orange economy. For so long we’ve been underfunded, underdeveloped and overlooked so the fact that the judges believed in this vision really brings joy to my heart and I’m really excited to be part of it.”

The RCI competition is in partnership with Access Accelerator’s Small Business Development Center. Executive Director Samantha Rolle was also at the ceremony and spoke to diversification opportunities still available within the tourism sector. She said, “it helped us to understand how we could expand within the tourism market. How we can understand that even within our number one industry that has been our bread and butter for so many years there are so many areas of diversification that still exists. And the creative space, the performing arts adding that culture that entertainment level I think that’s a great thing to offer. But the best part about that as well is what Ms. Butler does is she curates and designs those type of experiences while utilizing and contracting other small businesses.”

General Manager of Royal Caribbean Philip Simon said RCI has always sought to push entrepreneurship and opportunity. As they continue to partner with The Bahamas and grow the destination it important to encourage not just the youth community but the entrepreneurial community.