Since the recent launch of the Agri-preneurs pilot programme, some five participants have received financial management training and are currently immersed in personal development training.?? Additionally, one participant has already been provided with land by the Barbados Agricultural Development & Marketing Corporation (BADMC).

In a recent interview with Chief Executive Officer of the BADMC, Andrew Skeete, it was disclosed that training began even before the official launch of the Agri-preneurs project, last October.??

"So far, they have received training in accounts, branding and image building, Value Added Tax, the National Insurance Scheme, taxation, public speaking, marketing, entrepreneurship and personal development.????However, since some persons have already participated in, and completed the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, training is being geared specifically to their needs through some of our strategic partners – The Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT),??The Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, Fund Access and The Barbados Agricultural Society (BAS)," Mr. Skeete said.

The pilot project is geared towards young persons who are desirous of, or involved in livestock rearing, crop production and greenhouse technology, who are between the ages of 17 and 35.??Its major objective is to develop an understanding that entrepreneurial agribusiness may be achievable through enhanced creativity, adaptability, self-confidence and an overall determination to accomplish one’s personal goals.

The Barbados Youth Business Trust and the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme are providing formal and informal training in entrepreneurship and business development.???? "Because these agencies deal strictly with young people, they can create opportunities for these young entrepreneurs to network and support each other and BYBT has a successful mentoring programme to provide some support to young persons in the project," Mr. Skeete added.??

The mentoring aspect of the programme is due to start in January, next year.?? Executive Director of the Barbados Youth Business Trust, Marcia Brandon, whose agency is coordinating that aspect of the programme, deemed it "a worthy effort".??

With our limited funding, over the years we have been doing our part to help young entrepreneurs to start up their businesses.?? But now with the BADMC, we are facilitating specialised training and are inviting agri-preneurs to attend networking sessions, trade shows and exhibitions to hone their skills, Ms. Brandon explained.??

Fund Access is providing loan funding and support in business development and management.?? The BAS will assist in marketing the products produced by the agri-preneurs.??

Non-governmental organisation, Youth Development Services, will give counselling, as well as social development training.

The agricultural training component is a collaborative effort of the extension departments of the Ministry of Agriculture, BADMC and BAS.?? It will begin in March, 2010.??

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