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Friday 13 December 2019
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Rising interest in business

Charles hails shift to entrepreneurship

Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, right, greets Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack at the Youth Empowerment Forum at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, Lowlands on Friday,  - DAVID REID
Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, right, greets Secretary of Finance and the Economy Joel Jack at the Youth Empowerment Forum at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, Lowlands on Friday, - DAVID REID

Chief Secretary and Secretary for Education, Innovation and Energy Kelvin Charles has said Tobagonians are gravitating increasingly toward entrepreneurship.

He made the observation on Friday while addressing the Division of Finance and the Economy's Ninth Annual Youth Empowerment Forum at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands.

The theme of the event was The New Economy, Enabling The Future.

"Something that I believe has started to take place on the island of Tobago is a bit of paradigm shift where we are seeing more and more persons showing a vested interest in the field of entrepreneurship," Charles told the audience, many of whom were secondary-school students.

Students fully engaged and taking notes at the Youth Empowerment Forum hosted by the Division of Finance and the Economy on Friday. - DAVID REID

"The thinking of depending on the Government, in this case the THA (Tobago House of Assembly), to generate a sole income has been slowly but surely challenged, and it seems that more persons are willing to turn towards entrepreneurship to supplement their monthly income."

Charles said while the determinants of growth in the old economy were capital and labour, in the new economy, innovation, invention and information are key facets.

He observed many Tobagonians are embracing these emerging trends with an open and enterprising mindset.

In this regard, Charles said the assembly has been making a concerted effort to promote an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and skills certification.

He noted the Division of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour has been offering a variety of training opportunities through its vocational skills training programme. The programme has served over 2,000 individuals to date.

Charles said the Division of Culture, Tourism and Transportation's Arts Push programme was also conceptualised with entrepreneurship in mind.

THA presiding officer Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus, right, and her daughter Dayle Angus, left, with Tobago Youth Council vice president Kern Johnson at the Youth Empowerment Forum on Friday. - DAVID REID

He added: "We are providing opportunities for you to develop whatever talents you now have and, as we expand the economy and provide greater opportunities, it would be to your benefit as young people because you would be able to use your skills, whether you can act, you can sing, you can dance or you are technologically savvy, to gain sustainable employment in your lives."

Noting the constraints that already exist in the job market, Charles urged the young people to embrace technology in seeking fresh opportunities.

"Technology must be leveraged as a tool to take full advantage of the new and exciting roles and opportunities that are today coming to the fore."

He also urged them to exercise prudence in their finances and be willing to take risks.

"This time is a wonderful time to start building yourselves and to practice financial prudence.

"This is also an important time to start taking some calculated risks as there are usually some buffers and more importantly, you will have time to recover."

Charles told the young people they should never accept mediocrity and run-of-the-mill activities.

Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary for Finance and the Economy Joel Jack also spoke.

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