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Entrepreneurial expert, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, says Jamaica offers many prospects for business development, which must be exploited for the country’s progress.

According to Professor Hamilton, small businesses have the power to “take our country to another level to enable us to reinsert ourselves in a global market economy that is transforming and changing rapidly as we speak. ”

“There is hope, there are opportunities. We just have to find them and exploit them,” she stated. Professor Hamilton, who is Vice President for Community Services and Development at the University of Technology (UTech), was addressing yesterday’s

(July 4) launch of ‘Teach the Youth’ 2013, organised by the Students’ Union Council, at the institution’s Old Hope Road campus.

The annual initiative is aimed at teaching inner-city children how to use entrepreneurship for personal, community and national development.

In commending the effort, Professor Hamilton described the initiative as “a powerful programme for the transformation and development of Jamaica”.

She noted that “for too long, our parents and their parents have relied on others to take us out of the difficulties we are in. We are either looking to foreigners or government, anybody but ourselves. When we empower ourselves, we challenge ourselves to rise to the task of finding the solutions to the problems that we have.”

“We must find ways to enable Jamaicans to generate income. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about,” she added.

Professor Hamilton applauded the student volunteers for their decision to dedicate the summer break to community work, and commended them for taking on the responsibility of preparing the youth for Jamaica’s current realities by tackling some of the educational and social problems being experienced.

“For us to move forward as a nation we need empowered citizens, we need individuals who will step up to the plate and recognise that this little rock called Jamaica is ours. We have to fix it. We have to do what it takes,” the professor told the group of educators, students and sponsors gathered.

She used the occasion to announce that the Scotiabank Chair in Entrepreneurship, which is housed at UTech, will offer to a participant of the ‘Teach the Youth,’ a scholarship for an upcoming web entrepreneurship boot camp to be held on the campus.

The boot camp, being facilitated in collaboration with the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology, will be rolled out over the coming months.

Director of Community Services, Student Union Council, Jerome Graham, told JIS that ‘Teach the Youth’ aims to equip participants with relevant hard and soft skills that will allow them to positively impact their environment.

The 14-year-old outreach project, organised and run by student volunteers of the tertiary institution located in Papine, St. Andrew, will be implemented in five inner-city communities – August Town, Kintyre, Tavern, Highlight View and Sandy Park – under the theme: ‘Creating a Positive Impact Today on the Youths of Tomorrow’.

The programme, set to run from July 8 to 26, will involve approximately 600 participants from six to 16 years of age.

The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) is among the sponsors, which also include Food for the Poor, Reggae Jammins, Supreme Ventures, and Junior Chamber International.

BY Andrine Davidson, Exploit Business Opportunities – Professor Hamilton JIS Special Projects