Some of the 17 young entrepreneurs who attended the St James Youth Innovation Center’s recent business training session listen intently.
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Seventeen young entrepreneurs are now equipped with the knowledge to run successful businesses after benefiting from the St James Youth Innovation Center (YIC) business training Explore Enterprise.
The week-long business training, which ended Friday, aimed to reach underserved youth between the ages of 17 and 30 living in inner-city St Jamaica Observer.
“The training is geared towards instilling the entrepreneurial spirit and certifying the participants. We target disengaged inner-city youth, excluding no one, but individuals who may not be doing anything at home or running their small businesses and may not be fully competent in entrepreneurial skills,” Green said.
Noting that business training was free for the entrepreneurs, the youth development officer said St James YIC recognizes that many young people in the community are interested in doing business but need additional training.
“The aim of the training is to improve the skills that many young people already have. So we want to provide a platform where they can hone those entrepreneurial skills in a formal setting where they get training at the highest level from a very sought-after trainer,” he told the sunday watcher.
In addition to the week of business training, Green noted that all 17 participants are eligible to apply for a $100,000 grant to fund their small businesses.
“A $100,000 component is available for those who are successful in the training, have met certain criteria, and have completed documentation related to their business model planning. We’ve had individuals from previous training who are currently accessing this grant,” Green said.
He added: “It’s not just a one-competitor thing either. If all 17 people meet the standard, they will have access to the grant and business coaching while they start their business. If they already have a business they will continue to receive coaching on best practices and areas they need to work on.”
Astin Hewitt, 20, said this business apprenticeship was the opportunity he had been waiting for. Hewitt, a Lilliput resident, told this sunday watcher that he is grateful to be part of the YIC initiative as he hopes to one day inherit his mother’s restaurant.
“My mother has a business and one day I will take it over. That’s why I was interested in attending this training so that I can learn to develop the business further,” said the young man.
Daniel Turner, a juice seller who operates out of the bus lot in this western city, said he too believes this business training will help him achieve his goals.
“This is a very good opportunity for me and I’ve learned a lot of things that I didn’t know about entrepreneurship. I think this is great for me so that I can start a business and become a full-time entrepreneur,” Turner told the sunday watcher.
He believes that other young entrepreneurs “should be sure of the opportunity” that the St James YIC offers.
“It’s a pleasure to be here, so I want to encourage others to come too,” he said.
Following his participant, the Youth Empowerment Officer is calling on other young entrepreneurs to register for the Innovation Center’s upcoming Explore Enterprise Business Training.
“We have another entrepreneurship training in November, so we are in the process of mobilizing young people for it. This is an opportunity for them to learn how to run a business properly, so if you are entrepreneurial and want your business to be successful, this is the training that is best for you,” said Green.
He continued: “I would like to encourage all young people to contact a youth innovation center in their area. There are several possibilities and information offered by the YICs. The challenge we have is to seize opportunities, so we want to send that message to young people.”