Anderson Knight (left) showing Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, how he will set up his Food, Fruit and Vegetable Shop. (S. Forde-Craigg/BGIS)

Government’s Building Blocks Project is aimed at transforming the Barbadian economic and social landscape through the empowerment of young people in communities.

That is according to Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, who was speaking this morning during the signing and handing over ceremony of keys to three entrepreneurs at the Building Blocks’ Bonnetts, St. Michael location.

The Minister noted that, back in 2018, Government had decided to engage many people, especially young people in various communities across Barbados, and as a result, the Building Blocks Project was conceptualised.

He continued: “It was also developed as a part of a comprehensive community-based social intervention strategy to address the problems of unemployment, and the incidence of crime and violence which have been afflicting various communities across Barbados.”

Noting that the country will be going into a period of “national pause”, Mr. Sutherland advised the entrepreneurs to use February 3 to 17 to plan how their businesses will function in a COVID-19 environment, and to implement what they had learned from the training they received through the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), in order to make their businesses sustainable and profitable.

 “Let the sky be your limit; let the world be your playground. Don’t see this kiosk as your only business avenue for the next five to 10 years.  Use this as a stepping stone to build a bigger business; use this as a stepping stone to employ other people; use this as a stepping stone to mentor people; use this as a stepping stone to help your son and your daughter to become true business aspirants … and teach them how to manage money,” Mr. Sutherland urged.

Through the first phase of the project, a total of 16 entrepreneurs will be able to ply their various trades and earn an income. 

Minister Sutherland is also encouraging members of the public to support the businesses from the Building Blocks Projects. 

“We look to the first world for most of our products and the time has come when we have to empower our own and look to support our own, that’s the only way we can build this local economy.”

Anderson Knight, who will operate a food, fruit and vegetable shop; Leshan Sobers, who will manage a salon and cosmetic store; and Mario Smith, a meat shop, all signed their licence agreements and received keys to their kiosks this morning.

The three entrepreneurs expressed thanks to Government for providing them with the opportunity to own their own businesses, and promised to utilise in their business operations the training in entrepreneurship conducted by YES in the areas of management, marketing, bookkeeping and personal development.

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