YOUTH ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF KATHERINE ELLIS, DIRECTOR OF YOUTH AFFAIRS, COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT (LONDON)!
“My primary role is is to support the 53-member governments of the Commonwealth, to empower their young people socially, politically and economically to effect change” said Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, London. Ellis is Australian born, and has served some twelve (12) years in the private sector in the Asian-Pacific region, and another eight (8) years in the NGO youth sector. “I was able to transfer the experiences gained within the private sector to the NGO sector, and thereafter, into the inter-governmental space to successfully initiate change in and through youth development which is an important part of the mandate of the Commonwealth Secretariat” said Ellis.
Ellis strongly believes that young persons should be exposed to environments that allow for positive experiences particularly as they relate to their entrepreneurial pursuits. “As a young person, I was privileged to grow up in a stable family environment, where there was a prevalence of integrity, honesty and trust and people looked after each other. I always encourage young people, especially young entrepreneurs, to develop their own personal values to underpin successful action.”
Ellis visited Trinidad and Tobago recently as part of the Commonwealth team to facilitate the establishment of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs – Caribbean and Canada (CAYE-C&C) which was developed primarily to link entrepreneurs, to drive support for entrepreneurship, and build trading opportunities.“This alliance, which originated from the Asian Region, is aimed at providing connectivity support across the Caribbean Region and Canada, for young entrepreneurs.They can share experiences, and raise a united voice to call for a better system to support emerging businesses” she said. Though CAYE –C&C will be supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat, it promises to be self-driven with each member country embarking on appropriate initiatives aimed at propelling the growth of youth entrepreneurship. It should be noted, that Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT), is the representative organization in CAYE-C&C responsible for providing support for young entrepreneurs in Trinidad and Tobago.
There has been a strong commitment by member countries which include Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, to ensure that CAYE-C&C represents a unified voice for the further development of youth entrepreneurship regionally and internationally.
For further information on CAYE-C&C, please visit their website at www.cayecaribbean.com.
By: Sandrine Rattan
Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)
Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, July 23rd, 2015