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KINGSTON — The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, is seeking to facilitate youth entrepreneurship as an avenue through which young people can achieve sustainable livelihoods by developing and operating their own businesses. Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry, Senator Warren Newby, informed that this will be done through a national youth entrepreneurship strategy being developed.

"This strategy seeks to create a culture that is reflective of sound entrepreneurial values, attitudes, and a code of ethics, which enables young entrepreneurs to optimise their fullest entrepreneurial potential through facilitating, encouraging and nurturing entrepreneurial ideals," he informed.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica (YEA) on Tuesday (July 26) at the National Council for Voluntary Services on Camp Road, Kingston.

According to Senator Newby, in developing the entrepreneurial spirit, enterprise has to be cultivated in the minds of the nation's youth, while financial literacy has to be taught so they can appreciate risk, thrift, innovation, inventiveness and competition.

"These are the values and attitudes that are necessary…these values have to be mainstreamed into our curriculum and encouraged at the primary and secondary levels of our education system," he argued.

He informed that the Ministry has sought partnership with state and non-governmental organisations, to provide business planning support, mentorship and venture capital financing for youth entrepreneurs and is seeking to build youth business incubators to allow for the development of best practices while promoting corporative and collaborative growth.

"If we are able to achieve these, we will be well prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that exists on the Junior Stock Exchange, launched in 2009, and has market capitalisation of $14.9 billion, reigning in some $1.9 billion in capital for the companies that are listed. This vehicle is allowing for participation of the masses in wealth creation and for medium sized enterprises to expand in a sustainable way," Senator Newby stated.

In his remarks, President, YEA, Samuel Coates, said the country is headed in the right direction in terms of policies relating to entrepreneurship and creating wealth.  

The YEA was formed in 2005 under the auspices of the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) with a mandate to support young people in business.

The non-profit organisation targets business owners 45 years and under, providing them with opportunity to learn from each other's experiences and take advantage of peer mentorship as they grow their businesses.

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter