YEP Orientation Sessions Got Underway Yesterday


The first of 10 orientation sessions under the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP), which is targeted at high school and tertiary level students graduating this month, got underway yesterday (June 17) at four locations in Kingston.
These were the Garmex HEART Academy; the HEART Trust/NTA Cosmetology School; Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI); and the Rockfort Vocational Training Centre (VTC).
YEP was established by the Government to assist tertiary and secondary level school-leavers with an interest in operating their own businesses, to access training and financing.
During the session held at the Garmex HEART Academy, Senior Facilitator for Entrepreneurship and Sports at the institution, Raymond Chung, urged the young people in attendance to use the opportunity to empower themselves and to make a valuable contribution to the country. He said that there is great growth potential for micro and small business entrepreneurs in the country and YEP is a means of promoting self employment for persons leaving high school, college and university, who often have to be competing for the same jobs.
Chartered Accountant, Wilton Williams, during his presentation, told the youngsters that they will have to work hard to ensure the success of the business venture and mentors will be provided to guide them in the process.”The mentors will help you to solve the problems that will come up from time to time in your business,” he informed.
He said that under YEP, entrepreneurs will be able to access business support services, such as centralised accounting; assistance with formalising businesses; and a choice of marketing options to facilitate the sale of goods and services being produced.
Under the programme, funding in the sum of $200 million will be made available by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) to Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) for on-lending to secondary and tertiary level school leavers with feasible business ideas.
These MFIs include: Jamaica National Small Business Loans; Nation Growth; Access Finance Services; Micro Credit Limited; and selected credit unions.
To be eligible, graduates must be recommended by their educational institutions, exhibit an interest in self-employment, and be willing to participate in the series of training seminars. They are also required to prepare a business plan and conceptualise an idea that is technically and financially viable, as well as demonstrate an ability to repay the loan.
Young persons will present their respective business plans to a micro-finance institution of their choice for review, following which, borrower interviews and credit appraisals will be conducted by the MFIs in accordance with their normal credit policies. Loans will be processed in approximately 10 working days.
Each successful loan recipient may obtain up to $100,000, or four persons in a group could access $400,000. Interest rates will be set at 10 per cent for the life of the loan, with a 12-month repayment period for individual loans, including a maximum of six months moratorium on the principal payment.
Orientation sessions will be conducted in all parishes across the island by a team of business development experts from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Heart Trust /NTA and Success Finance Company. Assistance will also be provided by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Jamaica 4-H Clubs and Bureau of Standards Jamaica.
The sessions, being held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., will run from June 17 to July 9. The next set of orientations will take place on Friday, June 19, in Portland and St. Thomas at the Buff Bay Vocational Training Institute, Lynch Avenue; Port Antonio Marina (Old) Market Street; and Paul Bogle Skills Training Centre, Morant Bay.

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