A Government Minister is calling for the "entrepreneurship baton" to be passed on to an aspiring youthful business class, who will be in the forefront of the future development of this country.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Patrick Todd, made the call last Sunday, while delivering remarks during the launch of the National Youth Forum at the Wildey Gymnasium.

Emphasising that the Forum was an appropriate vehicle to forge strategic linkages among the various stakeholders, he said this was necessary to allow the youth to participate in the island’s socio-economic development.

"The proverbial baton must be passed on to the island’s youth as a symbol of engagement to play a more positive role in contributing towards national development.?? So, the vision of an entrepreneurial class, lead by the island’s youth, is for some an impossibility, for others it’s a challenge; while it’s a struggle for others," Mr. Todd remarked.??

Accepting that small business development was about facilitating economic enfranchisement among the youth, the Minister of State urged the banking sector to partner with Government in realising their dreams of owning their own businesses. The Minister added: "While national debate may suggest that commercial banks are not venture capitalists, what remains true, is that our commercial banks have a critical role to play in the development of an entrepreneurial culture within this Barbadian landscape, to inspire hope and engender pride among our young people with viable entrepreneurial ideas."

He noted that the National Youth Forum had been formalised despite criticism from some quarters and gave the assurance that government would "not be distracted in its resolve to provide a fair and equitable opportunity to enhance the lives of the island’s youth".?? jwilson@barbados.gov.bb

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