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Entrepreneurs must be committed, innovative – CEBO participant, business owner, awardee

Posted in: Regional News | 26 January 2016 | 3430

    Anastasia Elliott (centre) gets her entrepreneurship award
    Anastasia Elliott (centre) gets her entrepreneurship award

    Anastasha Elliot is an ambitious young woman from St. Kitts and Nevis who owns a business called Yaphene.

    Anastasha describes Yaphene as a local pioneer of fresh, raw and organic face, body and hair care products made from all natural ingredients with a focus on local herbal remedies. Her products include shampoos, hair tonics, deodorant, body spritz, hair conditioning butters, lotions, body and face scrubs, bath salts as well as artisan jams made from both fruits and vegetables. The company also sells herb-infused oils, honey and butters in addition to herbal breads and a variety of gourmet treats such as barks, granola bars, cheesecake, macaroons, cookies, bespoke cakes and more.

    Anastasha is a proud participant of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat’s Creativity for Employment and Business Opportunity (CEBO). CEBO was established in recognition of and in response to the huge unemployment challenges in the Region. Data indicate that the average youth unemployment rate for countries in the Caribbean Region was nearly 25% in 2013, compared with the adult rate of only 8%. Young people comprise more than 60% of the Regional population. While the problem is not confined to the Caribbean, it is a challenge that has significant implications. It is very clear that youth unemployment in the Region needs to be addressed in a very purposeful and precise manner, and it was in recognition of that fact that the CARICOM Secretariat embarked on CEBO to help provide young people with an enabling environment for youth employment .

    The CEBO training is designed to engage, motivate and inspire entrepreneurial interest and action among youth 15 to 29 years old. It emphasises creativity and teamwork and is delivered through hands-on, interactive youth-friendly methodologies.

    Young entrepreneur, Anastasha Elliot, displays her products

    As a CEBO participant, Anastasha proved the mettle of this project when she won an award for entrepreneurship last year at an entrepreneurship fair in St. Kitts and Nevis. Anastasha described winning the award as exhilarating. She said the response from the public had been great and that now people who she didn’t know were stopping her on the street to say congratulations.

    Anastasha found out about CEBO via the Department of Youth in St. Kitts and Nevis. According to her, the training process was in-depth and relevant and simplified many of the more complicated aspects of business.

    I enjoyed how hands-on it was. It pushed your boundaries in many ways, forced you to think outside the box, consider avenues you may not have before, and engendered a send of fun, passion, enjoyment and ownership,” she said.

    Anastasha was already a business owner when she embarked on the training. However, she explained that it helped her to understand whether or not she was on the right path and helped her decision-making processes. She said Yaphene was inspired by her mom who, after overcoming cancer, decided to take the family on a more natural route. She said her desire to pursue the production of things natural was further reinforced when she saw how many of her people were being affected by cancer and then reading that many of the exposure to and causes of cancer in a big way had to do with the products used on the skin daily.

    I really couldn’t not try to do my part to offer a natural alternative,” she said.

    Speaking to her experience so far as an entrepreneur, Anastasha was quick to point out that being an entrepreneur was not an easy task. She explained that there were many sacrifices involved and made it very clear that to be an entrepreneur required a high level of innovation, commitment and determination. She attributed her success not only to her determination and commitment, but also to the support of her family and siblings and having the ability to accept help when it was needed.

    Her advice to other youngsters who want to become entrepreneurs is to go for it but to also make sure that the motive is not just to make money but also to make a difference.

    You can make a positive change not just in your environment but in the life of even one person,” she said.

    You may find out more about Yaphene on Facebook www.facebook.com/yaphene, or her website at www.yaphene.com.