The Government of the Virgin Islands has finalised the three part Youth Entrepreneurship Workshop Series as it remains focused on expanding youth entrepreneurship in the Territory.
The Government through the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports collaborated with the Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories Small and Medium Enterprises (COSME) programme, and hosted the first in the series of training workshops on February 3 to 5. The sessions were funded by the European Union and are part of the Territory’s business development strategy to help established and aspiring young business persons.
The department has several workshops planned to assist young persons in starting businesses, and developing the tools that will help them keep their investments sustainable.
Minister for Education and Culture, Honourable Myron V. Walwyn said that employment and entrepreneurship are two of the many goals of the Virgin Islands National Youth Policy.
The Minister added, “It is our goal to provide our youth with access to decent work and livelihood opportunities that provide them with long term economic security and meaningful lives. This workshop has illustrated this sense of initiative and the Ministry’s obligation to youth development and advancement.”
The workshop series titled ‘How to Improve Your Business; and Self-employed vs. Unemployed,’ were facilitated by International Development and Management Consultant Ms. Lusette Howell. Topics covered included the Basics of Business, Managing Your Business, Preparing to Improve Your Business, Innovation, Competitiveness and Defining the Entrepreneur.
Premier and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE in his 2016 Budget Address said that youth development remains at the top of his Government’s agenda. He also emphasised the role of the National Business Bureau in providing youth entrepreneurs with guidance and help in accessing training, business development assistance and funding.
The Premier said the Government takes a very futuristic approach to governing this Territory, and to providing every possible opportunity for the development of young people.
The COSME programme specialises in the development of the small and medium enterprises in the 12 Overseas Countries and Territories, and was launched on April 1, 2014 on Tortola. The overall objective of the programme is to contribute to the sustainable and climate resilient economic diversification and prosperity of Caribbean Overseas Countries and Territories by improving the competitiveness of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in the participating Territories.
Small business development is one of several initiatives in different areas under the COSME programme, and this is also aligned with the Government’s investment strategy. Premier Smith is the National Authorising Officer for the British Virgin Islands in relation to European Union funding initiatives. He is also the past Chairman of the Association of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTA), the international body for all Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union.