Barbados’ economic development depends on the extent to which entrepreneurship can become a constant practice.

This view was expressed today by the Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and the Environment, Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo, while delivering the feature address at the official opening of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme’s (YES) four-week summer camp at Queen’s College.

Dr. Byer-Suckoo told the 30 teenagers: “Entrepreneurship promotes economic growth. As a small developing country, for us to grow and thrive, we must actively develop our entrepreneurial talent.

The world, and in particular the world of business, is extremely competitive and if we are to successfully compete in this global market, we must have the entrepreneurial drive and attitude.”

According to her, traditionally the island’s formal educational system had not focused a great deal on preparing students for self employment, but to be job seekers. She said that vocational training had been successful in fulfilling the traditional role of equipping students with the skills necessary to fill the current job profiles. “This traditional focus is out of sync with the demands of our new era in which innovation, entrepreneurship and persons highly skilled in the new technologies are prerequisites for success. The exploration of new concepts such as entrepreneurship and small business creation, along with vocational training could propel young people into the arena of new venture creation.”

The Minister stressed that Government had seen the need to implement innovative policies and programmes which could foster an entrepreneurial climate and create an environment where individuals could develop the necessary attitudes and create businesses so as to generate employment for themselves and others. She noted that Government was committed to putting funds in place to encourage persons to create more companies.

She added that her Ministry had implemented innovative programmes and polices which were geared towards the development of a dynamic entrepreneurship culture.

Dr. Byer-Suckoo said the YES Juniors programme is currently being administered in 37 schools – 21 primary and 16 secondary schools – and the students demonstrate improvements in areas such as leadership, teamwork, self-confidence, business knowledge, financial literacy, attendance and behavior in school, mathematics, oral and written academic skills, motivation and personal control.

Manager of YES Programme, Selma Green, said the inaugural camp which is for children between the ages of 12 and 17 would create an excellent opportunity for young people to whet their appetite for entrepreneurship and see it as a viable choice in the future. (SA)

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