Meeting with Jamaica Prime Minister at Jamaica House EasyPoli

It was such an honour! I met the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the honourable Andrew Holness, who greatly welcomed my new initiative “Young Entrepreneur: Own Your Future” in partnership with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC).

I have worked in various countries around the world and youth unemployment is one the biggest barriers to development. There are millions of youth in the world eager to take advantage of economic opportunities in their co

untries. The Statistics Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) estimates the unemployment rate in Jamaica at 12.9% (July 2016) and the unemployment rate for youth is considerably higher at 27.4%.

Women and Youth are commonly marginalized groups in society. As a Gender Equality specialist, it is important to recall that gender equality is about creating equal opportunities for both men and women, boys and girls. After initiating the Women Smart Networking Series, where women are trained for strategic networking, I wanted to address the situation of young entrepreneurs.

One of the things that stroke me is that Jamaica has a great asset in its young people; they are creative and passionate about entrepreneurship. Self-employment is a catalyst for development and social change and it is often the answer to unemployment.

I am convinced that young entrepreneurs can have a positive impact on the economy and I wanted to address it. So, on Saturday, January 21, 2017 the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) hosted its first entrepreneur conference, ‘Young Entrepreneur: Own Your Future’ with over 300 participants. For the first time, hundreds of students and entrepreneurs from across the country gathered for a unique empowering experience.

I managed to recruit a panel of influential and inspirational community leaders and entrepreneurs; the Hon. Minister Floyd Green, Nicole Mclaren-Campbell, Valrie Grant, and Thione Niang – past advisor to Barack Obama, a Social Entrepreneur, Youth Advocate, Political Strategist and Founder/President of Give1Project who flew in from Washington D.C as the featured guest speaker.

The speakers shared their experiences and provided the audience with the ability to analyze their own strengths and weaknesses; and to gain the self-esteem, confidence and abilities to carry out their goals. At times they raised similar discussion points such as, cultivating and encouraging a positive mindset. Mrs. Grant mentioned during the conference that, “attitude governs the way you perceive the world and the way the world perceives you.” Mr. Niang spoke on the pressing issues of having no capital to start a business. He advised that money is not the answer to starting a business, but instead, it starts with an idea and a partner.

The ‘Young Entrepreneur: Own Your Future’ was the first national event of its kind and participants asked that we repeat the experience. Serving young entrepreneurs was a rewarding way to work hard, learn a lot and collaborate with extraordinary future leaders.

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