A section of the audience listening attentively to Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley.??

Government is keen to expose local entrepreneurs to their counterparts in other countries, particularly the United States, in an effort to encourage interaction and information sharing between them.

This disclosure has come from Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley, while delivering the feature address today at the Small Business Association’s Enterprise in Action Youth Symposium at Hilton Barbados.

Mr. Lashley pointed out that the initiative would also give business people an opportunity to find export markets for their products and services, as well as micro-finance.

He stated that one of Government’s main medium term strategies was to intensify the entrepreneurial spirit and move towards diversifying the economy. "Today the need for young entrepreneurs is much greater than ever before, because of the need to broaden our economic base…

"As a consequence, there is an urgent need for us to cultivate a sense of enterprise and to develop a cadre of young entrepreneurs who can spot opportunities and capitalise on them," Mr. Lashley told the audience, which included primary and secondary school children.

The Minister added that he had already indicated to some of the departments which fall under his portfolio that entrepreneurship and self-help projects must be their key focus in the future. He continued: "I believe that young people must be at the forefront of change and innovation because once they are empowered, they will be key agents for development and a critical part of our development process including efforts to create an entrepreneurial society.

"By embracing entrepreneurship and new venture creation, Barbadians can realise tremendous social and economic benefits. Having a greater number of entrepreneurs builds strong communities. Entrepreneurs are a vital source of jobs, products, and services. I have noted that much of the financial support for non-profit and community organisations come from entrepreneurs and some of our best leaders and role models are entrepreneurs."

Mr. Lashley told the school children that an entrepreneurship education would help them see and experience a stronger connection between what is taught and how it could be applied in their daily life. He suggested that it would help them better understand why they should master various subjects, namely English, Math and Science.

The Youth Minister conceded that every young person might not choose a career in business, but stressed that they could reap many benefits from early exposure in the area and he listed them as including better performance in school, greater self-confidence, independence and greater awareness of economic choices and consequences.

The Enterprise in Action Youth Programme started in September 2009. The secondary schools it was piloted in are Springer Memorial, Garrison, Alexandra, Coleridge and Parry, and Princess Margaret, while the lone primary school is Roland Edwards. saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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