Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland. (FP)

The first cohorts of the Building Blocks Project, also known as ‘blockpreneurs’, have started a two-week training course entitled Set Up For Success.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, in his remarks to participants of the course, encouraged them to take advantage of the training provided by the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, which would enable them to “translate their dreams and aspirations into viable enterprises”.

Minister Sutherland explained that the building blocks concept was the brainchild of former Minister of Youth, Adrian Forde, and the project is a comprehensive strategy aimed at, among other things, addressing the problems of rising unemployment, and facilitating the engagement of potential “blockpreneurs”.  

He added that the project is not only providing physical space in the form of kiosks to set up a new business, but it is also providing participants the opportunity to build capacity, and to gain the knowledge to ensure that their businesses are both successful and sustainable.

Stressing that sustainability is key to a successful business, Minister Sutherland pointed out that a person could be given money to start a business, but knowing how to manage money; understanding real estate and rent; the ability to read a contract and knowing what they are bound by, as well as good customer service and marketing strategies, are all tenets that assist in making a business sustainable.

In complimenting the participants for ‘staying the course’, Director of Youth Affairs, Cleviston Hunte stated: “As we went out into communities to select the number of blocks that we would be piloting this project with, you were those who instructed and informed this, in terms of the location.

“And you were the ones who gave of your time and energy to ensure that we were having a project, which involves the persons who would be benefiting from the project, and that is something that’s critical in terms of how you develop community development.”

The two-week training follows previous sessions conducted in early 2019, and is geared at reinforcing previous training and providing participants with additional knowledge that would benefit them in the long term.

Some of the courses which will be taught over the next two weeks include customer service and basic communication, bookkeeping basics, business law, and maintaining high safety and health standards. 

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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