In Winner’s Row:?? Awarded for their creative business projects in the BEF’s $20 challenge were from left -right:?? Isabella Forsberg and Ariela St. Pierre-Collins from the Codrington International School (for Boobie Cakes, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Nicola Barnard and Catriona Rogers of St. Winifred’s (for SheSells Designs, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); Calypso Barnard and Madison Bell also from the Codrington International School (for "Bow Wow") and Cherise King, Aerin Prescod and Joanne Da Silva Blackman of Queen’s College for their Bunches of Bows. (A. Miller/BGIS)

The commitment by young people to entrepreneurial pursuits has been noted by the island’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones.

This was acknowledged last Friday evening as the Minister addressed the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation’s (BEF) Gala Awards at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The Gala was held to recognise, among other things, winners of the BEF’s $20 challenge – that attracted 203 students from 14 public and private schools and saw the creation of profitable, innovative, community-minded businesses, within a month, out of $20.

Stating that the island’s development was clearly ??"at the heart" of the students’ entrepreneurial ventures,?? Mr. Jones indicated that these were in keeping with one of the pillars of activities, identified in Government’s Human Resource Development Strategy 2011-2016.namely ???research, innovation and entrepreneurship’ that was "absolutely vital in the further development of this country".??

Praising the youth, he said: "This country built itself not on resources that others have gold, oil, and gypsum. We have none of those minerals… We built this country on a few solid ideas. We built it on democracy, the rights of a people [and] on working hard as a people.

"But, fundamentally we built it on the provision of education and training where we said to an entire nation: ???Regardless of if you are a billionaire, a millionaire or you are poor that, out of the collective pool of resources, the only hindrance to your learning is you, yourself. Everyone will have an opportunity to soar like an eagle…’"??

As he urged the students to continue the dialogue on ideas, he added: "I believe that we should do a lot more by talking while we act [and] while we work because it is in the talking and the discussion that more ideas will flow… And, as those things flow….we are better able to come to grips with what we want to do, where we want to go, how we are going to do it and how we are going to develop this nation."

Applauding the BEF for its vision of wanting to see Barbados as the number one entrepreneurial hub by 2020, the Minister reminded the audience that entrepreneurship depended on a set of variables. ??He said: "Don’t let us believe that all entrepreneurs are born; entrepreneurs can be taught; they can be mentored… Entrepreneurship can be taught and we have to inculcate in our young people that desire to be an entrepreneur because as we look at the world today it is not going to be the same again."

Among the winners of the $20 challenge were Bunches of Bows, formed by Queen’s College students, Aerin Prescod, Joanne Da Silva Blackman and Cherise King. They design, create and sell hair bows. The trio was specially commissioned to create fashionable bow ties in the national colours of Barbados that were worn by the judges at the Gala Awards.

Another winner was: Boobie Cakes, operated by Ariela St. Pierre-Collins and Isabella Forsberg of Codrington International School. Their product was created to raise awareness about breast cancer and to raise funds for the Cancer Society. Also in winner’s row was Bow Wow, which was operated by Madison Bell and Calypso Barnard of Codrington International School. They focused on making and selling healthy, homemade dog biscuits. SheSells Designs, a partnership between Nicola Barnard and Catriona Rogers of St. Winifred’s, also took home an award for designing, creating and selling business cards.

The Valeant International (Barbados) SRL Business Plan Competition winners were also awarded. Caribbean Priemiere Distributors Ltd., operated by Kevin Payne, Aseia Worme, Lizette Ward and Jason Hinds, took home the first prize of $20,000, while the other winners were KinePerfeckt Biochemie, Heritage Cosmeceuticals Ltd. and # Touches.

This competition required youth pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the areas of business/finance and biotechnology at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies to write business plans to start up and manage a distribution company owned by Valeant. The plan had to address the dispensing of over-the-counter products here, with the possibility of exporting these products to other Caribbean countries.

Programme Manager with BEF, Chris Harper, in praising all students said: "Young people recognise the value of being involved in entrepreneurial activities. They have seen the economic situation in the world and are ready to "grab the bull by the horns" and take charge of their own financial stability. They can no longer depend on the government or on the private sector for job security nor should they have to."

The BEF was formed in 2010. Its focus is Growing Sustainable Entrepreneurship through advancing the key Foundation Pillars of finance, government policy, education and skills, mentorship and business facilitation.


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