Thu | Nov 15, 2018

Growth & Jobs | Sowing seeds for economic success

Published:Tuesday | September 26, 2017 | 12:02 AMChristopher Serju
Young entrepreneurs getting a pep talk from Eric Khant, Charge d'affaires in the United States (US) Embassy, before their departure to the US on Tuesday October 3 participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative exchange programme.
Christine Meyer, Cultural Affairs Officer at the US Embassy.

US Charge d'affaires Eric Khant on Friday challenged young entrepreneurs to rethink the notion that profit should be the sole or even the major objective of any successful business. Success in business, he told them, goes well beyond profit.

"As you become successful people, having profit shouldn't be your only goal, but one of your goals. As you become successful, you also have the responsibility to make sure that you take actions against corruption, crime and other problems that undermine the growth of your country. So take that responsibility seriously and good luck to all of you," he told a select group of young Jamaicans during a meet-and-greet reception at the US chief of mission's residence.

The eight Jamaicans will leave on Tuesday, October 3 for the United States to participate in the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) exchange programme which seeks to provide unique opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs and civil society activists in the Western Hemisphere.

They will spend three weeks engaged in hands-on activities at fledgling businesses, learning about the way things are done and sharing their ideas on how these business operations may be improved.

Kant used the occasion to challenge the participants to recognise and maximise the value of the opportunity of the three weeks they will spend working during the exchange programme.

"You are what we call in the states, cream of the crop, in terms of being innovative and forward-thinking, up-and- coming, the best business persons that Jamaica has to offer. You are obviously very talented, otherwise you wouldn't be here," the diplomat said in paying tribute to the 2017 YLAI cohort.

'Talent alone cannot guarantee success'

"Unfortunately, talent alone can no longer guarantee success in this very competitive and interconnected business world that we live in today," US Charge d'affaires Eric Khant told a group of young Jamaican entrepreneurs.

They are to leave the island shortly for the United States to participate in Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) exchange programme "The YLAI programme is fantastic because it provides unique opportunities, networking opportunities to up-and-coming business persons like yourselves to connect with other people like yourselves, exchange ideas, promote your products and expand your businesses," Khant told them.

"You are here, because you had this big-idea moment in your life. Many others also have that moment, (but) the difference is that a lot of these people don't follow on their great ideas and, unfortunately, those ideas die. In your case it didn't, you decided to do something with it," he said.

The decision to act on that "aha" moment, in the process improving theirs and other people's lives, finding the determination and courage to follow through on their dreams is what separates YLAI participants from average people. But they should not be content to rest on their laurels, at least not yet, the US diplomat insisted. He charged them to dream big and use the experience gained from the exchange programme as a platform for achieving even greater things.

"You can potentially be in the position that you can influence the economic ties between the US and Jamaica and that's a good position to be in, because you can shape the lives of people by changing economic policies for Jamaica, and even beyond. You are the future of Jamaica, you're gonna shape what Jamaica is gonna look like 10, 15, 20 years from now, and how bright that future is really depends on how much effort you give to reaching your potential."