Sixty-two young men and women from Majesty Gardens, Kingston are now budding entrepreneurs following graduation from a programme in which the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), the Jamaica Exporters' Association (JEA) and the St. Andrew Settlement collaborated to empower them to earn and establish their own businesses.
The young entrepreneurs participated in the JEA and St. Andrew Settlement 'Income Generating Opportunities for Young Unemployed People, through linkages with established micro, small and medium entrepreneurs project', one of two funded by the European Union (EU) and Government of Jamaica Poverty Reduction Programme.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Loy Malcolm, general manager project management at JSIF, said the agency was proud of the achievements of the participants and of the five-month programme which delivered training in sustainable income-earning activities like craft manufacturing, dressmaking and tailoring, crochet, woodwork and furniture manufacturing.
An intensive programme of internship and vocational training followed, which prepared the graduates for careers in entrepreneurship, including improved access to start-up capital and business development support.
Malcolm thanked the JEA and the St Andrew Settlement for their help in "providing the technical assistance and business development support to a group of youth, many of whom had previously accessed remedial education and other services offered in their communities, but did not have the know-how to connect that knowledge into income-generating ventures."
She expressed the hope that "with their new skills, the 25 graduates will find ready markets in their communities and beyond for the many products they will be producing."
The JEA signed the agreement with JSIF on March 25 for the EU-funded project. As part of the deliverables, simple business plans were developed by the JEA team in coordination with each beneficiary to guide the development of their business undertaking.