Developing entrepreneurial thinking in young people

For the third time, CIBC FirstCaribbean and the Caribbean Center of Excellence of Youth Entrepreneurship have joined forces to work to inspire creativity and innovation, build independence, create jobs and generate wealth among the young population in the region.  

The project seeks to improve the livelihoods of young men and women.  

CIBC FirstCaribbean provides US$200,000 over the two years of the partnership. In addition, youth business trusts and youth entrepreneurship organizations will receive US$120,000.  

The money will be used to help start new youth entrepreneurship organizations in the Bahamas and St. Kitts and Nevis, as well as, for the first time, support an existing youth entrepreneurship organization in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  

The money will also support the ongoing development of youth entrepreneurship programs in Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica. The Caribbean Center of Excellence of Youth Entrepreneurship will use part of the money for capacity development, quality control, and monitoring and evaluation.  

The center evolved out of increasing requests from CARICOM countries for help from the Barbados Youth Business Trust.  

“We are extremely grateful to CIBC FirstCaribbean for their vision and commitment to regional sustainable development, which is what continuing this well-needed partnership contributes to. The bank’s partnership is not only long-term, but very high impact,” said the center’s managing director, Marcia Brandon. 

Ms Brandon said that over the past six years, the Caribbean Center of Excellence of Youth Entrepreneurship and its partners introduced more than 3,000 young people to entrepreneurship, helped some 75 people start up businesses, and assisted 35 young entrepreneurs access markets and trade missions.  

CIBC FirstCaribbean chief executive officer Rik Parkhill said, “We continue to be deeply committed to sustainable social and economic development initiatives which have the potential to transform the lives of the region’s youth.”  

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From left, David Clarke, chairman, Barbados Youth Business Trust; Marcia Brandon, managing director, Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Youth Entrepreneurship (CEYE); Rik Parkhill, chief executive officer, CIBC FirstCaribbean; and Debra King, director, corporate communications.
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