The final round of Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) orientation sessions were held on Friday (July 24) in Manchester.
They were held at the HEART Vocational Training Development Institute (VDTI) campus, Grove Road, Mandeville and at Holmwood Technical High School, Christiana. Both sessions ran from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The sessions were originally scheduled for July 8, but were cancelled as a result of the ban on public gatherings in Manchester, due to the spread of the Influenza A H1N1 virus.
The YEP Programme, which encourages school leavers, at the secondary and tertiary levels with a passion to operate their own business, to access training and financing and establish viable small businesses, was announced by Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding during the 2009/10 Budget Debate.
Participants in the final round of the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) session held on Friday (July 24) at the HEART Vocational Training Development Institute (VDTI) campus, Grove Road, Mandeville, Manchester listen attentively to Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) Business Consultant, Daren Larmond, as he explains the orientation process.
It has received $200 million in funding, which will be made available by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) for on lending to school leavers with feasible business ideas.
The participating MFIs are: JN Small Business Loans Limited, NationGrowth, Access Finance Services Limited, Micro Credit Limited and selected credit unions through the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League.
Field Loans Officer at NationGrowth, Manchester, Jenese Hart-Griffiths, who was at the Christiana orientation session, said that the role of her organisation is to encourage and empower young persons to buy into the programme of becoming self-reliant and taking the initiative to open and operate their own businesses.
“I think the idea is a brilliant one, and young persons should really gravitate to it and become what they can be now; be somebody else’s boss and this now will also help the growth and development of the country,” she suggested.
She added that because most high school graduates lack certain prerequisites, in terms of qualification and experience, they are unable to land a job at certain levels and taking on the YEP programme is really a great opportunity for them.
The 24 orientation sessions, inclusive of the final sessions in Manchester, were conducted by a team of business development experts from Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), HEART Trust/NTA and Success Finance Company Limited.
Persons interested in YEP were invited to attend the orientation sessions to learn details about the programme, register their interest and indicate which of the Entrepreneur Workshops they will attend. The three-day workshops will held in locations across the island.
At the orientation sessions, participants are assigned a business advisor from one of the MFIs, who wilil provide guidance on matters pertaining to record keeping, problem solving, accounting services, formalising business, marketing and building self confidence.
HEART Trust/NTA Trainers’ Trainer in Entrepreneurship Malton Waugh, who conducted the session in Christiana, in giving an overview of the programme, noted that the support promised to the participants is very strong, as there is pre-loan and post loan support as well as a mentor to provide guidance.
“Some of the prerequisites for entering the programme are to have some personal characteristics that will afford you what it takes to be successful, like planning and organising skills, the ability to take calculated risks, the ability to seek out information that can be used to implement the business, and also to develop personal self confidence. And so, all participants have to work on their self-esteem and their self-confidence, so that they are able to present themselves and their products and services in a way that would make people want to engage them,” he said.
The Mandeville session was conducted by Business Consultant with JBDC, Daren Larmond.
Meanwhile, the majority of the participants at both sessions lauded YEP as a meaningful programme that will help propel aspiring young entrepreneurs into their own businesses.
“I find it interesting and I think the Government is doing a good thing in helping young people, because leaving college and leaving high school, sometimes you do not know where to turn to start your own business, so I think it’s a great idea,” remarked Kerry Williams, a participant at the Mandeville session.
The Mandeville session attracted 30 participants, while at Christiana there were eight participants.