St. Elizabeth will be the first of four parishes to see a youth-based entrepreneurial initiative being undertaken by Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2017, Dainalyn Swaby as a part of her national project. Learn. Earn. Return, launched by Swaby at the St. Elizabeth Parish Library in her hometown of Black River on Friday, January 19, aims to improve the capacity of youth to identify sustainable opportunities and develop complementary skills to build economic resilience.
“There is a lack of entrepreneurial skills and proficiency programmes for youth that could create sustainable income generating opportunities to address unemployment and boost community economic development.” Said Swaby during her address.
She continued, “This initiative will cultivate a culture where youth become job creators and not job seekers. Youth need to be equipped with the necessary entrepreneurial skills and develop business acumen for them to become self-sufficient and generate their own economic opportunities.”
State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Member of Parliament for South-West St. Elizabeth, the Hon. Floyd Green who was the keynote speaker at the launch said in his address:
“I think this is a wonderful project, any project that focuses on entrepreneurship is an area that we would want to see more of our young people focused on and I encourage you to grasp the opportunity.”
Minister Green continued, “This opportunity will give you tremendous training, in terms of interpersonal skills and leadership, because that is what Entrepreneurship is also about. It’s not just money management, which you will also learn, but it is how to work with people, how to gain confidence enough to make the decision to go out as an entrepreneur and learning that even when the times get tough you have to keep going.”
LEARN. EARN. RETURN. will see its focus in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Kingston Clarendon and St. Thomas, targeting 50 young persons between the ages of 17 and 30 years per parish. Its objectives include equipping youth with entrepreneurial skills to generate sustainable opportunities, hosting entrepreneurship sessions across select communities to develop business acumen, and identifying mentors to provide guidance and support to youth with startup businesses.
In addition to Minister Green, the launch, which was organized by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), was also attended by His Worship the Mayor of Black River, Councillor Derrick Sangster, who also brought remarks as well as students of various high schools within the parish. Youth Entrepreneur, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Bresheh Enterprises, a local manufacturer of customizable bags, Randy McLaren also gave an entrepreneurial testimony to the students in attendance.
Persons between the ages of 17 and 30 years who are interested in registering for the project may do so by sending an email with their name, age, contact number and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.