The Small Business Bureau (SBB), in collaboration with several ministries has initiated a Youth Entrepreneurship Programme for 80 ‘at risk’ youths, ranging in ages from 18 to 25.
This Youth Biz 592 programme commenced on March 14, targeting youths from Sophia, Georgetown and Angoy’s Avenue, New Amsterdam, Berbice.
Officer in Charge of the Small Business Bureau, Gillian Edwards
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Officer in Charge of the SBB, Gillian Edwards said that this programme evolved through collaboration among the Ministries of Public Security, Education the Department of Culture Youth and Sport, and the US based YouthBuild USA Inc. and the SBB.
Edwards said that the aim of the programme is to keep youths who have been abused, school drop outs and teenage mothers among others out of possible negative activities. Edwards said the programme also helps guide the youths into entrepreneurial activities.
“It is a very complex programme, because while addressing all those needs, we also address the physiological needs of the youths as well,” Edwards noted.
The youths are being schooled in the areas of literacy, and parenting skills, and there is also a focus on gender. Edwards said that the hope is that at the end of the program the, “youths are steered towards creating their own businesses.”
However, Edwards said that in some instances some of these youths already have their own businesses and they will be looking to expand them because there is also a grant component of the project. She explained that the SBB offers support in this initiative through day care support and stipends for transportation because they want to keep encouraging the youths to attend all the sessions.
The pilot project will last for three-and-a-half months and is funded by the Inter- American Development Bank (IDB).
Edwards noted that the Ministry of Public Security with YouthBuild USA Inc. from the USA, (the lead expert for the project on entrepreneurship), signed the project and the Ministry of Public Security contracted SBB to implement it.
Edwards said that all entities involved are excited about the project. The sessions will be interactive and the content of the modules simple to understand.