Manchester youth get jump-start in business ventures
Dozens of entrepreneurs from the parish were able to launch and register their businesses, following their successful participation in the Northwest Manchester Youth Entrepreneurship programme spearheaded by the Central Jamaica Social Development Initiative (CJSDI).
The programme, which was launched last July, facilitated the students in completing a four-month-long course with units that focused on entrepreneurship, bookkeeping, finance management, and marketing, particularly in food processing best practices to boost production, reduce imports and increase exports.
“Our young people must not only be ready to compete locally, but to compete globally. One of the mission was to expose them to business practices and sharpen their analytical skills, to be able to make decisions that would ensure their profitability and success,” said Damion Young, managing director of CJSDI.
The programme had the backing of the Scientific Research Council, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), Home Grown Produce, Rural Agricultural Development Authority, and HEART/NSTA Trust – which has certified the students in micro-Level 2 entrepreneurship.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony last Friday, themed ‘Recover stronger, expand wiser or start up smarter’, at the Golf View Hotel, Young reported that of the 36 graduates, not only were 20 individuals able to register their businesses with the COJ, but have completed business plans that were submitted to the HEART/NSTA Trust for grant funding.
Businesses with successful plans will receive a total of $100,000 each to obtain inputs to augment their businesses.
“To their credit, the youth participants have been working hard and pushing their products and services, and are already easily recognisable in supermarkets and pharmacies around town. One example is Nastassia Baker, the owner of ‘Curlfrenz’, who is in Fontana Pharmacy with her hair products.” Young revealed
Baker, who was selected as the group’s valedictorian, encouraged her colleagues to utilise the knowledge gained to optimise their offerings and seek various investments to fund their niche.
Deputy Speaker of the House and guest speaker Juliet Holness hailed the initiative as a great opportunity to engage young people to generate wealth, and requested that it be replicated throughout the island.
“The success of this programme is actually testament to the fact that there are Jamaicans willing to say no to handout and begging, no to helplessness, no to idleness, and yes to smart work, creativity and opportunity.”
Holness said it is her intention to consult with the finance minister to explore the possibility of increased grant funding to support micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Remittances from overseas should not be our greatest source of earning. Our greatest source of national income must come from these small businesses that we are able to create. You have been given the tools, young entrepreneurs; now go, change lives, and conquer the world of business.”