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Youths push entrepreneurship in the Caribbean
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Youths push entrepreneurship in the Caribbean

latoyaa-roberts-thomasYoung people across the Caribbean are taking the bold step of starting their own businesses. Latoyaa Roberts-Thomas, 29, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad and Tobago, reports that while there is still a lot to be done to support youth entrepreneurship in the region, young entrepreneurs and policymakers are strategizing to propel youth entrepreneurship in the region.

Entrepreneurship is one of those 21st-century buzzwords like globalization, which everyone is eager to talk about. But the verdict is still out on the extent to which the Caribbean region is really creating an enabling environment for youth entrepreneurship.

At a workshop held recently in Trinidad and Tobago, young entrepreneurs from over fourteen Caribbean countries discussed the main challenges faced by young entrepreneurs in the region and worked with policymakers to develop strategies to propel youth entrepreneurship in the Caribbean.

Among the concerns raised by young entrepreneurs and stakeholders were the need to enhance entrepreneurship education and skills development, facilitate technology exchange and innovation, as well as improve access to non-traditional and innovative financing options for young entrepreneurs. Participants also said other important areas of concern were access to information, mentorship, and networking for young entrepreneurs in addition to optimizing the regulatory environment for entrepreneurship and business operations in the region.

The workshop was facilitated by the Commonwealth Youth Programme and had representatives from CARICOM, Caribbean Development Bank, UNECLAC, ILO, Commonwealth Youth Council and Caribbean Regional Youth Council.

There was also renewed commitment at the meeting to bolster advocacy for youth entrepreneurship by supporting the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs for the Caribbean and Canada ( CAYE – C&C). One of the youth networks under the Commonwealth Youth Programme, CAYE-C&C is specifically tasked with ensuring that there is representation from young people at forums that influence policy development on youth entrepreneurship.

Launched in 2015, CAYE-C&C’s mission is to empower and nurture young people through access to entrepreneurship training, financial and technical support, networking and mentorship opportunities. The network also advocates for policies that help to create a strong entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem.

President of CAYE-C&C, Selma Greene, explained that youth entrepreneurship in the Caribbean and Canada is “widely recognised and utilised as one of the strategies to improve youth employment.”  

Speaking about the benefits that CAYE-C&C  derived from the workshop, she said, “We are thankful and pleased by the outcomes in terms of promoting awareness and networking among young entrepreneurs and policymakers.”  Adding that, “We connected, we networked, and we engaged to advocate for changes to advance youth entrepreneurship for strategic growth and development in the region.”

The workshop was held from June 20 – 24 in Trinidad and Tobago.

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Photo credit: courtesy of https://clipartxtras.com

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About me: I work as a Communication Officer at the Division of Tourism and Transportation, Tobago House of Assembly in Trinidad and Tobago. I hold a first Degree in Communications Studies with Linguistics and International Relations and a Masters in Global Studies. I am currently pursuing an M.Phil in International Relations. I have a passion for youth development but also internal relations, and I like travelling the world.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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