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JIS News

Scores of young people turned out at the Runaway Bay HEART Academy in St. Ann on Thursday (June 25) for the St. Ann leg of the Young Entrepreneurs Programme (YEP) orientation session.
The youngsters, who also journeyed from Trelawny, were eager to learn about how they could go about starting their own business and were excited about the YEP initiative that was conceived with them in mind.
“I must say thanks to the Government of Jamaica for having launched this programme. I think it will be beneficial to young entrepreneurs,” said participant, Damion Johnson. He told JIS News that the session was very informative and “I think as young persons, we will be able to leave from here inspired to build Jamaica, because step-by-step, we can achieve our goals.”
Another participant, Andre Yishu, lauded YEP as a positive move for young people. “I have always had this idea of starting my own business and this is a good channel to develop it and hopefully, one day, my business might be one of the top businesses in Jamaica,” he told JIS News, pointing out that his focus would be in the field of science in the area of chemical development.
Meanwhile, Ocho Rios High School student, Shadae James, said she was desirous of starting a business in goat rearing to satisfy the national demand for goat meat. “The other day I was listening to the news and I heard that the Government would be placing great emphasis on goat rearing in the country so as to develop the sector and boost production of goat meat. I decided I would do goat rearing because it would benefit me and the country would benefit as well,” she stated.
In addition, 22-year old Adrene Scarlett, noted that the session was very interesting and she was glad for the opportunity to learn how to start a business. “I benefitted from the session and hopefully, couple years down the line I will have my business plan and know exactly what I want to work on, whether it be food, art, or fashion,” she said, adding that whatever her line of business, it would market brand Jamaica.
Project Co-ordinator for YEP, Wayne Beecher, told JIS News that he was pleased with the turnout at Runaway Bay, noting that it was the best attended session so far.
“We are expecting 100 persons per location, per event, and that was not realised in all cases apart from the Half-Way-Tree session. Runaway Bay has been the best session with some 130 participants, who are all keen on going on to the next level,” he informed.
He explained that the next level of the programme involved a three-day workshop “where participants would be given expert assistance in fine-tuning their business plans, as well as moving forward into the actual plan with business advisors and business mentors helping to coach them in the process”.
Mr. Beecher is appealing to young persons across the island to seize this opportunity. “I want to tell them to get ready for the time of their lives, to come out and experience what is available to them. They are going to become part of an elite group because the world’s most successful persons are in fact entrepreneurs, so they need to come out and see what is possible and make the best use of it,” he encouraged.
YEP was established by the Government to assist tertiary and secondary level school-leavers with an interest in operating their own business, to access training and financing.
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.
The island-wide orientation sessions, which started in Kingston on June 17, will run until July 9, and are being conducted by a team of business development experts from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Heart Trust/NTA and Success Finance Company.
Sessions continued today at the Port Maria Vocational Training Centre in St. Mary and tomorrow (June 27) at the Cornwall Automotive Training Institute, Montego Bay St. James; and Kenilworth HEART Academy, Sandy Bay, Hanover.