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Monday, January 23, 2006 

Jamaica Youth Business Trust -Supporting Creative Entrepreneurship
by Jamaica Information Service

Posted: Jan 23, 2006 19:37 UTC

KINGSTON (JIS) - When the Jamaica Youth Business Trust (JYBT), a youth entrepreneurship development organization was launched in 2000, there were great expectations for its success.

However within a year the fortunes of the Trust declined and the Trust became dormant due to a lack of sufficient funding. Five years later however the JYBT has been rejuvenated and plans are once again afoot to channel the entrepreneurship or 'hustling' skills and activities of the nation's youth into structured, organized and viable initiatives.General Manager of the JYBT, Maureen Swaby-Samuels informs JIS News that with the reactivation of the trust the major focus is on gaining sponsorship to assist enterprising young entrepreneurs and maintaining the viability of the organization. "Our focus at the moment is on fund raising so that when the programme gets up and running fully it will be on the road for a very long time," Mrs. Samuels explains.

The mandate of the JYBT has not changed since its initial inception in 2000 and its target remains to help young people between the ages of 18 to 20 to initiate and maintain their own businesses. The organization is expected to assist with start up capital, business mentoring and consistent business support.

Mrs. Swaby-Samuels explains that while the JYBT is seeking to be successful in its second coming there will be no shortcuts to its success and proper funding will play a key role in it being effective"Like anything else its not overnight success, I believe that to a certain extent we are experiencing success with funding as just to get a positive word from prospective sponsors and prepare proposals is a measure of success," she notes.

The General Manager also reveals that the JYBT has so far produced three business proposals for three major business entities, one of which is an international funding agency, while the other two are local."We expect that these proposals will materialize within the next two months," she notes. As the quest for funding continues Mrs. Swaby-Samuels tells JIS News that expectations are high and the organization is looking to assist entrepreneurs with serious and quality business plans and proposals"One of the things that we agonizing about is the quality of the businesses, we don't just want people who are going to get some money and start to sell some cigarettes and mints on the road. We really would like to see creativity with the business plans using information technology to assist with the ventures," she states.

Continuing Mrs. Swaby-Samuels adds "I expect to see increased employment through self-employment, so rather than persons waiting to get a job that they would find something to do themselves and then be in a position eventually where they could create employment for others. I'm excited about this".

Additionally, the JYBT General Manager is urging young entrepreneurs to be prepared to work hard and to upgrade their skills and abilities."In Jamaica, some people make the mistake of feeling that once they start a business that they have arrived, so the business is not given the kind of care and nurture that it needs and so it is not sustained. We need to engage with our mind and soul, there is no substitute for hard work, be prepared to take advice from those who have walked the road," she points out.

In respect to the use of Information Technology, Mrs. Swaby-Samuels says young entrepreneurs must utilize the use of computers in their businesses."Today we have a lot of access to information by way of computer technology and it could take you a far way. So even if you are in a trade business, the use of the computer is still quite relevant," she notes. The JYBT owes its renaissance to certain groups, which have come to its aid and Mrs. Swaby-Samuels informs that although the JYBT is a non-governmental organization (NGO) state funding has been critical."Sometimes only the negatives about the government are highlighted but we are supposed to be a non-profit organization supported by the private sector and this has not totally materialized. Instead we have gotten most of our funding so far from two semi-governmental organizations," she informs.

The General Manager is calling on the private sector to come on board to support the initiative."I believe what is needed is for the private sector to come on board to give us support, we are looking for mentors, we're looking for money, people to serve in the capacity of trustees.

We need people to serve on our credit committee and on the executive council. We just want to encourage persons from the private sector to contact us and see how they could assist," she says.

Mrs. Swaby-Samuels also indicates that due to the organization being in its infancy stage, there is also a lack of personnel but says this problem is being addressed with the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) helping the JYBT to find suitable office space.

The JYBT falls under the purview of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture and presently operates from the office of the Duke of Edinburgh in Kingston.

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