(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Training for the region’s at-risk youth continues to grow, with the launch of the Creativity for Employment and Business, CEBO programme in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, July 21-26 2014.
Targeting at-risk youth age 15-29, CEBO is a tool to engage, inspire and create entrepreneurial interest and action among young CARICOM nationals as a means of countering youth unemployment, mitigating drug abuse, crime and violence and fostering economic resilience.
Twenty five young persons benefited from the National CEBO training in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Participants were divided into teams and each team was tasked with developing a business plan. Teams were then given small loans from the Bank of CEBO to start a simulated business. The businesses developed were: One Stop Cuisine, Fruity Blast, Jolie Pops and Yummy Pastry. All businesses developed were profitable.
At the Opening Ceremony held at the Girl Guides Headquarters, the Minister with responsibility for youth, Hon. Frederick Stephenson told participants:
“This training can propel you into becoming one of the most successful youth who start their own businesses and become a regional leader in the service or goods which you provide.” The Minister challenged the participants to not only think locally as they develop their initiatives and ideas, but to become creative and think regional and even international.
Assistant Secretary General, Human and Social Development of the CARICOM Secretariat, Dr. Douglas Slater, in his remarks, expressed optimism that the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines would continue to roll out CEBO after this initial workshop.
“We (The CARICOM Secretariat) anticipate that following this workshop, the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other local partners will be inspired and committed to continue to mount CEBO workshops across this country and provide follow-up support to CEBO graduates, ably supported by the facilitators who were trained in the methodology.”
CEBO is a Regional programme that is currently being implemented in eight CARICOM Member States. The CARICOM Secretariat with the support of the Government of Japan, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Youth Innovation Project, had piloted CEBO in five Member States in 2012-2013, namely, The Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica and St. Kitts and Nevis. The Secretariat has since received additional funding from the USAID and the “CARICOM/ SPAIN Citizen Support Security Project- Support for Youth Empowerment and Resilience” to deliver CEBO in 7 additional Member States, namely: St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The St. Vincent National CEBO Workshop was supported by the Ministry of National Mobilisation, Family Services, Community Development, Gender and Youth Affairs; Youth entrepreneurial development stakeholders; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ CARICOM Youth Ambassadors. It ended with an award ceremony and exhibition.
During the award ceremony Dr. Hilary Brown, Programme Manager, Culture and Community Development, CARICOM Secretariat congratulated all the partners and participants on delivering a CEBO Workshop that was a “resounding success”.
Participants in the workshop who are desirous of establishing or growing businesses will be referred to local agencies for further assistance based on their specific needs.