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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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NSSEC: Creating Young Entrepreneurs

Marketplace Live, a popular business simulation has made its way to the shores of Trinidad and Tobago. The programme which has been used by hundreds of universities and corporations worldwide will be launched on September 19 at the Central Bank Auditorium. The simulation will be used in the National Secondary School Entrepreneurship Competition (NSSEC) which aims at giving students from form four to form six, the practical skills and knowledge needed to create a successful business.

"Marketplace Live is an online business simulation designed to teach children how a business is run. We want students to be able to practice before they go into the real world where money and jobs are involved. They need the necessary practice, while they develop both their skills and knowledge about business simultaneously," said Gary Lewis, a representative from Innovative Learning Solutions Inc, (the company which developed Marketplace Live) at NSSEC's Teachers' Training on September 12.

Marketplace Live offers student-users a gradual introduction to the content and an easy interface through dynamic- video-enriched story lines while fostering team-work. The programme also has a built in chat, for groups of students to communicate while they create and manage their own virtual business in the computer industry over six quarters.

In this remarks, Christian Stone, the co-founder of More Vino Limited who was also instrumental in NSSEC described the process of creating the competition as astonishing, with the amount of support his team has been receiving. He mentioned that over 60 schools signed up, with over 300 students and five sponsors and partners signed on to NSSEC.

The competition will bring together secondary schools throughout Trinidad and Tobago to compete in a dynamic entrepreneurship simulation game. The gaming experience aims to equip students in TT with essential practical skills and experience to foster their critical thinking abilities in the domain of entrepreneurship and give them the confidence to make strategic decisions that will impact the development of their future business ventures.

" The role of teachers is to guide students throughout the course of the online- programme as they [students] learn to connect theoretical concepts to practical experiences, while encouraging innovation and critical thinking," said Stone at the Yara Auditorium, Arthur Lok Jack GBS in St Augustine.

Marketplace Live can be accessed by students and teachers while using any digital device that has an internet connection. "The game will be beneficial not only to business students but students on the whole, as they will be learning about entrepreneurship in a risk free environment," said Stone in an interview with Newsday. "We would be giving them the opportunity to link theory with practical based learning over the course of two and a half months," Stone said.

Nisa Suepaul, the Curriculum Officer at the Ministry of Education said, "I have viewed the game and it is a great practical approach to learning for students. It will surely help them apply what they have learnt in the textbooks."

Numerous teachers present at the training session expressed their interest in starting the game at their schools, but concerns were also posed, as it pertains to only being to use the game when there is internet.

"This is a great initiative, I look forward to helping my students apply the information they have been receiving into making wise business investments," said David Balantyne, a business teacher at Corpus Christi College.

Reenuka Mohess, one of the business teachers at Reno's Educational Institute in Chaguanas said, "This is very interesting as it is encouraging the idea of entrepreneurship to students in schools as an alternative to also boost our economy, with having successful business owners."

Fazul Sahadath from ASJA Boy's College said that he is excited and cannot wait to begin the game with his class.

Among the schools represented at the training session was Sangre Grande Secondary, Arima Central Secondary, Aranguez Educational Institute, St Benedict's College, San Juan South Secondary and the International School of Port of Spain, to name a few.

Present at the session was Evelena Bruce- the Communications Officer-Youth Development at First Citizens Bank, Earl Boodoosingh-Director from the Massy Foundation and Suepaul, the curriculum officer at the Ministry of Education. Shell Trinidad Limited, one of the competition's major partners also had a representative present.

The UWI-Lok Jack GSB as part of NSSEC will also offering $1 million in scholarship prizes for the top 15 students from NSSEC to pursue the new undergraduate programme to be offered by the Graduate School for the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business, starting in September 2018.

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