TWENTY-FIVE unemployed young people between ages 18 to 30, including university graduates, will benefit from the Building Opportunity for Sustainable Success (BOSS) mentorship programme. The initiative was launched on Monday by the Division of Finance and the Economy Youth Energised for Success (YES) programme unit at the Victor E Bruce Complex, Scarborough.
Assistant Director of the YES programme Melissa James-Guy said the BOSS programme was launched to help mitigate the effect of the covid19 pandemic on young aspiring entrepreneurs.
She said, “Covid19 has irrevocably changed the way that businesses will compete over the next decade, and it is the businesses that chooses to capitalise on these underlying changes that will succeed.”
The division’s administrator, Brenda John-James, said the programme is geared towards providing mentorship and counselling to young entrepreneurs in Tobago, enhancing their chances of survival and success in their respective ventures.
She said, “There is a body of international researchers that tells us that young entrepreneurs are the hardest hit by covid19 crisis. The research suggests that quarantine and social distancing reduced demand, disrupted supply chains, disrupted distribution networks and other challenges have forced many young entrepreneurs to close their businesses, while others are only just surviving. Without support, they are likely to be wiped out.
"It is in this specific context that this specific programme which seeks to boost the chances of survival of businesses run by young people is both important and timely.”
She said the division believes that young people have a critical role to play to stimulate entrepreneurial activities on the island and diversify the economy.
“We believe that any sustainable recovery of the Tobago economy from the adverse effects of the covid19 pandemic would not be effective unless our young entrepreneurs play a critical role in this recovery effort,” she said.
James-Guy said the THA continues to make investments in the human and cultural capital of the island.
“YES has therefore embarked on harnessing the available potential of young Tobagonians ensuring that we are given the best opportunities to meaningfully contribute to the socio-economic development of this our beloved island. Young people around the world have been increasingly turning to entrepreneurship even pre-covid19, as the solution for limited and sometimes difficult job market prospects,” she said.
She said the THA is cognisant that programmes such as this provide excellent opportunities for young people to gain the necessary skills and education, mentorship and counselling which would set a firm foundation for success.
“BOSS will be a practical support mechanism to bring the theory to life, through assisting participants to explore strategies in monetising your talents or your ideas, all this while giving you, young and aspiring entrepreneurs, the chance to learn from experienced businesspersons.
“This is a mentor-mentee initiative, we are equipping you not only with the theory and the practical but also we are providing you with a unique opportunity to hold the hands and to learn from those who have walked the walk already. We are ensuring that we equip you or we give you with all the tools that you may need and the counselling and the advice that you may need to succeed and sustain your businesses.”