JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Targeted at grade five students, the project, dubbed: ‘Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown,’ seeks to equip young people with practical experience in business operation and management
  • “The onsite simulation involves a hands-on, intensive, high energy, learning experience that strengthens their classroom learning,”
  • the initiative will also address the challenges of job creation and the provision of practical hands-on experience to students in the education system..

The Rotary Club of Kingston will spend approximately $20 million to establish a model business town at the Ministry of Education’s Caenwood Centre complex in Kingston.

Targeted at grade five students, the project, dubbed: ‘Junior Achievement (JA) BizTown,’ seeks to equip young people with practical experience in business operation and management.

It is being executed in partnership with the Ministry and Junior Achievement Jamaica (JAJ).

Speaking at a groundbreaking ceremony at the project site on Friday (January 17), President of the Rotary Club of Kingston, Allison Peart, said that the project is aimed at promoting business education in the areas of entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness.

She explained that JA BizTown will consist of several simulated company storefronts, in which the students will discover how real businesses work, by performing roles as employers and consumers of various operations.

“The onsite simulation involves a hands-on, intensive, high energy, learning experience that strengthens their classroom learning,” she stated.

Ms. Peart informed that the Rotary Club will be equipping a building, donated by the Education Ministry, with 11 storefronts, each to represent an actual company. Students will be allowed to engage in practical learning experience at these simulated companies for one day, after completing a four to six-week in class business curriculum, which includes economics, good citizenship and money management.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM) and Member of Parliament for St. Andrew South Eastern, Hon. Julian Robinson, lauded the project, noting that it will prepare young people to develop their own opportunities.

“It will help our youngsters, from grade five onwards, to understand more what entrepreneurship means as well as what it means to develop an idea and to take an idea from a concept to a business,” he said.

Mr. Robinson said the initiative will also address the challenges of job creation and the provision of practical hands-on experience to students in the education system.

“The reality of the world that we live in is that there is no government or country, that can provide all the jobs for our young people, and we have to start the process of sensitizing them to the fact that they have to go out and create their own opportunities,” Mr. Robinson remarked.

President of JAJ, Alphie Mullings-Aiken, informed that the aim is to reach over 10,000 grade five students each year through the initiative.

She noted that local businesses will be approached to support and sponsor storefronts, which will enable the students to benefit holistically from the “in class and real world” experience.

Mrs. Mullings-Aiken pointed out that BizTown is not unique to Jamaica, because the model is used in other JA locations across the world, but it will be the first of its kind in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“In other JA locations, such as in the US and Canada, local businesses actually purchase storefronts, brand them and a model of their business is developed at that storefront by students,” she informed.

The BizTown complex is slated to be completed by May of this year.