Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith. (FP)

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith is pleased that youth across the island are exploring opportunities to become entrepreneurs and are doing so with the help of the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) and the Small Business Association (SBA).

He stressed this yesterday as he addressed the youth symposium held under the theme: “Exploring the Digital Frontier, The Next Business Revolution”, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Two Mile Hill, St. Michael, by the SBA in collaboration with the Pinelands Creative Workshop.

The symposium formed part of Small Business Week, which is being observed from September 18 to September 24.   It was aimed at leading young entrepreneurs into businesses that are primarily focused on digital technology and technology-driven businesses, given that these types came to the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister Griffith, in his address to the young entrepreneurs, impressed upon them the need for persons to own their own businesses.  

He noted: “I am tasked with facilitating the needs and the aspirations of just over 55,000 young people in this country. One of the main issues that I have to grapple with on a daily basis is young persons asking about employment. One of the things that I’m pleased about is that my Ministry, the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme is providing opportunities for young persons who are interested in becoming self-employed, for those young persons who see entrepreneurship as a viable option.” 

Praising the SBA for its service in aiding the youth of this country, he said: “I want to salute the Small Business Association for putting on this symposium, and for 19 years of doing this [helping the youth].”

Mr. Griffith pointed out that there would be some duplication of business and at some point they should merge and look at what is happening in the region in regards to economies of scale and providing services throughout the Caribbean.

“I believe that, there will come a time when you will see it on the landscape of this country, where we deem certain businesses to be successful.  Those businesses are not moving out of the country. And, for you, young people, who are known to be risk takers, the onus is on you now to move the needle to a next level and to ensure that you can transcend these shores and be involved in the process,” he added.

The SBA is a non-profit representative body for micro, small and medium enterprises.  It was incorporated in March 1982 and officially opened its Secretariat in December 1995.

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