Several programmes and initiatives in 2017 will see youth development being advanced, one of which is entrepreneurial based. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan said the aim is to empower youths to become entrepreneurs, while at the same time, create a healthier business environment, especially for small businesses.
Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan.
Minister Jordan, during his recent 2017 budget speech, noted that the Small Business Bureau (SBB) will be extending its reach into educational institutions to expose students to entrepreneurial initiatives and skills, and also expand its existing programmes aimed at fostering youth entrepreneurship.
“This new venture will include a competition which will see at least 10 students receiving grants to start their very own businesses.”
The Finance Minister explained that the Micro and Small Enterprise Development (MSED) Project will continue with its financing and training and development activities, targeting prospective and established entrepreneurs and small businesses. He noted that to date a total of 660 clients are targeted for training and business support.
Additionally, 600 micro-enterprises will be visited to review their business plans and the results of training facilitated by the project. To ensure a level playing field in bidding for government contracts, the Government is enforcing the requirement that every endeavour be made to ensure that at least 20 percent of public contracts are awarded to small businesses.
Further, Minister Jordan indicated that the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme will continue to support small and micro-enterprises’ growth through a suite of programmes.
“The Government maintains that a strong and resilient private sector is one of the cornerstones of a healthy and robust economy, and is committed to maintaining a thriving and fair business environment so that our business owners and future entrepreneurs may prosper,” Minister Jordan emphasised.
Minister Jordan underlined that youths represent approximately 20 percent of the population, “So if we are to ensure that they are well equipped to be independent, viable, and productive members of society, then we have to ensure that we are strategic… The aim is to stimulate job creation for youths, while providing the necessary allocation to enhance educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.”
The Minister believes that with the right knowledge and skills, youths can become self-dependent, contributing to an expansion in the gross domestic product and household incomes, while reducing unemployment.
Other programmes targeting youth unemployment include the Youth Entrepreneurial Skills Training (YEST) programme and Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) platform for certified training for out-of-school youth among others.