CARICOM teaching more youth how to become business owners

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More young people in the Region are being taught about business ownership. Representatives from the CARICOM Secretariat and consultants are currently in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Belize implementing an entrepreneurship workshop for youth.

This initiative is the CARICOM Secretariat’s 10th European Development Fund (EDF) supported Creativity for Employment and Business Opportunity (CEBO) programme. It began on Monday in Trinidad and Tobago and in Belize, and will start on Tuesday in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The objective of the CEBO project is to engage, inspire and create entrepreneurial interest and action among young CARICOM nationals. It targets those who are both in and out of school, and from all walks of life, as a means of countering youth unemployment, mitigating drug abuse, crime and violence, and fostering economic resilience.

This phase of implementation also focuses on CARICOM nationals who have faced involuntary separation from other countries. The emphasis on this particular demography is linked to the CARICOM Regional Crime Prevention Strategy which proposes actions to address the determinants of crime, including the re-integration of deportees. In this new phase, workshops have already been conducted in Jamaica, Barbados, Haiti and Belize so far.

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The project utilises both a theoretical and practical approach as participants are required to form themselves into mock companies, pitch a business idea to the ‘CEBO Bank’ to apply for a loan which they receive only after a successful pitch. This approach also involves the participants going out into field to market and sell their product or service then returning to the workshop facilitators with profit and loss statements. At the end of the exercises, they are allowed to keep the loan along with the profits.

As part of the implementation of the CEBO Project, manuals for entrepreneurship training and workshop facilitation were drafted, tested and published. The CEBO Participants Manual was developed as the main training aid. It emphasises creativity, teamwork and learning by doing, and is delivered through practical, hands on, interactive and fun icebreakers, energisers, visual aids and practical/simulated exercises.

The CEBO model was piloted in five Member States in 2012–2013, and rolled out in an additional seven Member States in 2014–2015. The project includes Partnership Meetings, Regional Training of Trainers, Community-Based Workshops, Business Development Workshops and National Training of Trainers.

This phase of the project will conclude on 26 October. A total of thirteen workshops will be conducted in six CARICOM Member States.

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