Twenty-five aspiring entrepreneurs have been presented with J$3.75 million in grants as part of their participation in the Clarendon Youth In Business (CYIB) project.
The participants, who were exposed to practicums and field trips, each received $150, 000 towards the development of their individual businesses during a presentation ceremony in May Pen, Clarendon on May 31, 2018.
Guest Speaker and Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, lauded the Clarendon Municipal Corporation for the programme, which falls under its Local Economic Development initiative.
“The government is creating the environment within the community that these young men and women can find an avenue for expression and these types of expression come with a cost,” the Minister stated.
“It comes with a cost because when they invest in the way that many have invested; they are expecting to get returns and those returns cannot be guaranteed unless there is something that is called partnership.”
He described the CYIB project as a practical demonstration of local government at work through community development. Minister McKenzie also committed J$1.25 million to increase the grants to $150, 000 each.
The participants represent the second cohort of the programme that began in 2016. They are involved in the business of crop agriculture, animal rearing, egg farming, agro-processing including nutraceuticals and sauces; barbering, shopkeeping, photography and garment construction as well as food and beverage across the parish of Clarendon.
The municipal corporation also received assistance from public and private sector partners inclusive of the Heart Trust; the Jamaica Business Development Corporation; the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); the Youth Information Centre and the National Commercial Bank.
The PIOJ’s Community Renewal Programme (PIOJ-CRP) provided coordination and funding support for the CYIB project. Its participation is aligned to its push to build the capacity of existing small business enterprises in Rocky Point, Hayes, May Pen, Effortville and Bucknor, which are target communities of the PIOJ Community Renewal Programme.
“When you find these (CYIB) young men and women, who could have gone into many other directions, but didn’t because they want to be self-reliant. They want to create their own niche on the society and to create a better Jamaica for their families and themselves,” the Minister added. “I believe that the young people of Clarendon will make even a greater impression on the reduction of the unemployment rate amongst young people.”
The country’s unemployment rate declined to 9.6 percent at the end of January 2018, down from 10.4 percent for the period of October to December 2017. The figures for youth unemployment also declined to 23.8 percent at the end of January compared to 31.7% for the corresponding period in 2017.
Minister McKenzie challenged the CYIB participants to strive for success and put their training in entrepreneurship and financial management in practice.
He publicly acknowledged former Mayor of May Pen, Councillor Scean Barnswell, for his support to the CYIB project.
“His leadership when he was Mayor and also head of ALGAJ (Association of Local Authorities of Jamaica) contributed significantly to what we are seeing and this is where continuity is important in the political process in the country.”