GEWTT 2017 Media Launch: Mrs. Dale Laughlin, YBTT Chair

“If cash is the lifeblood of a business, then SME are the lifeblood of most economies. These are the creative spaces in which innovation, new technologies, sustainable solutions and development are nurtured.”

 

YBTT Media Launch 2017 (14 of 51)

 

Good Morning! And thank you all for being here as we launch GEW 2017.

 

The ‘game’ is changing globally. It is not easy to stay positive, open and focused on the opportunity against a backdrop of continuing global volatility and disruption – that 73 million young people around the world are unemployed, and 156 million young workers live in poverty; that youth unemployment in the Caribbean is running at about 40%. It’s a real struggle to remain focused on opportunity with the distraction of increasing national uncertainty and doubtful outlook for short-term economic recovery. The challenges faced by young people to find meaningful work, to access support for starting up and scaling up, to channel their frustration into positive change rather than social unrest; and to learn from others – are escalating not diminishing.

 

The fact that quality interventions to support young entrepreneurs are needed more than ever makes our contribution, and that of others like YBTT, more relevant and urgent. YE’s continue to need support in starting, growing and sustaining their businesses.

 

This is the context in which we’re seeing “Entrepreneurship as The Game Changer” and YBTT and the other organizations that support Youth Entrepreneurship, through their coordinated and collaborative efforts, the facilitators, catalysts and empowerers.

 

But why is this all so important and urgent? Entrepreneurs open the businesses that comprise the SME sector and, in time, become the nucleus for the development of much larger firms. Entrepreneurship is itself changing. Social entrepreneurship and global entrepreneurship, for example, are being recognized as major contributors to society, as well as economic development.

 

If cash is the lifeblood of a business, then SME are the lifeblood of most economies. These are the creative spaces in which innovation, new technologies, sustainable solutions and development are nurtured. Further, these are the suppliers of inputs into the supply chain of large firms. On average, around 95 percent of companies in the developed world are SMEs accounting for up to 60 percent of the employment and contribute significant proportions of their countries’ GDP.

 

In the next few minutes, I’ll explore how YBTT has been and will continue to contribute to the game.

 

We launched in February 2000 with a Mission to Nurture the Business Spirit in Youth and a Vision to play a leadership role in developing a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in establishing sustainable businesses in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

Initially, our focus was on providing loans to Young Entrepreneurs who “would not otherwise have the opportunity” – we provided loans and mentorship to numerous candidates, some of whom, survived, scaled up, created employment and are now successfully running their own businesses.

 

The game was changing, though. For our part, we realized that we needed more and different players – there was a broader definition of ‘under-served’ – there were growing numbers of young people becoming interested in entrepreneurship who were ill-equipped for the challenge. Also, there was a national and regional conversation emerging around entrepreneurship, and, youth entrepreneurship.

 

Over the last 3-4 years we made four key areas our operational priorities: (i) To improve and scale our suite of financial and non-financial support services; (ii) To build strong and effective partnerships and increase our influence as a support organization through advocacy – working with policymakers and others in the ecosystem to create a more enabling environment for entrepreneurship; (iii) To increase awareness of the YBTT Brand and (iv) To enhance our internal capacity to both strengthen current performance improvement and future sustainability.

 

Today our support services include:

1. Providing business capital without collateral and at comparatively low-interest rates and repayable over a period of up to forty-eight (48) months. This is a valuable resource for young entrepreneurs who generally do not own property against which they can leverage capital.
 
2. Assigning experienced business mentors to young entrepreneurs to provide the guidance and support needed to address challenges encountered in managing their businesses. YBTT recruits and trains these volunteer mentors from the private and public sectors from among persons who have business acumen and experience. This approach is tried and tested and businesses are more likely to survive when an experienced mentor is assigned to assist them.
 
3. Training or providing training opportunities for young entrepreneurs in the skills they need to successfully manage their businesses. This includes life skills, financial management and business planning. Our programmes are being continually refined based on feedback and evaluation from both trainers and trainees.
 
4. Providing networking opportunities such as mentor mixers and business clubs to afford young entrepreneurs the opportunity to share experiences and exchange ideas with their peers and mentors and to be motivated by successful and experienced entrepreneurs. Research continues to show that entrepreneurs learn from interacting with one another, particularly at the early start-up stage. We encourage and support our YE’s to continuously strengthen their connectivity by investing in their relationships, building their networks, and sustaining strong partnerships.

 

Within the last two years, and through one of our major projects made possible through Shell, YBTT supported 300 YE’s, some of whom had their own businesses and 30 of whom started their own; 4 have closed. In the words of Lyndi Jordan, Dina Ramnarine and Michael Parris – all YBTT Entrepreneurs, in the agricultural sector, we are helping them to “take the leap”…”equipping you with the support”…“throughout your business to become really independent”….”learned how to plan”…”a lot of good training” (taken from the video on the YBTT website).

 

The key results that YBTT delivers today and our ability to overcome the major challenges we face as the game environment, players, rules continue to evolve, are dependent on the engagement and talent of our people. Our strength lies most significantly in their talent, focus, dedication and resilience.

 

Further, as an NGO, YBTT’s progress and sustainability are dependent on the collective contributions of the internal and external stakeholders with whom we work and collaborate to support Young Entrepreneurs (YE’s) in realizing their life ambitions of personal and financial independence.

 

In addition, as a member of Youth Business International, YBTT seeks to achieve the required standards of governance and operation through the accreditation process and to continually strengthen its relationships throughout the network.
YBTT, however, must sustain its relevance by matching our suite of products and services as well as our delivery methods to their needs and preferences. In addition, we must utilize increasingly robust, evidence-based methods of measuring and reporting on our work and its impact. Our relevance and our ability to prove our impact are the foundation on which we will continue to build a compelling brand story that widens our reach and expands the opportunity to explore non-traditional revenue streams.

 

For YBTT, the future is in influencing and accelerating the game – support the building of new industries rather than merely the creation of jobs. Move beyond collaboration with our partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem to co-creating with them the enabling environment in which we can all play our part. Create networks rather than individual partnerships…. “Leading for the future as it reveals itself”.

 
Thank you all.

 

 

GEWTT 2017 Media Launch: Honourable Paula Gopeen-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry

“The Government is reforming the enabling environment to facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation, and also investing in new economic infrastructure for innovators. “

YBTT Media Launch 2017 (22 of 51)

 

Feature Address: Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry

 

It is a pleasure to join you this morning for the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017. From our perspective at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, this is a very exciting event and period for entrepreneurs, particularly the young entrepreneurs, in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

The Minister of Finance, earlier this month, identified several areas that the Government is focused on to diversify the economy, promote import substitution and grow exports – areas such as manufacturing, agriculture, tourism including sports tourism, information and communication technology and construction.  There are opportunities for both seasoned and emerging entrepreneurs as the current environment challenges us all to think away from the usual. This also mandates the application of both innovation and creativity – two cornerstones in the foundation of any successful business.

 

As we commemorate Global Entrepreneurship Week, we must recognize the important role which small and medium-sized businesses play in the domestic economy. Data from the Ministry of Labour and Small Enterprise Development indicate that the MSME sector is comprised of over 20,000 companies, representing more than 85% of all registered businesses and contributing approximately twenty-eight percent (28%) of GDP. The most significant economic activities in this sector are Retail and Distribution, Personal Services, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services, and Construction.

 

The entrepreneurial spirit in the non-energy sector is pivotal to our nation’s economic development. Historically, many of our entrepreneurs have successfully overcome myriad hurdles and through their innovativeness, commitment to excellence, and tenacity, have changed the business landscape locally, regionally and in some instances globally. Trinidad and Tobago is replete with exceptional entrepreneurial talents including local business chamber inductees Helen Bhagwansingh, Arthur Lok Jack and Robert Bermudez, now Chancellor of The University of the West Indies, as well as creative entrepreneurs such as Bunji Garlin, Claudia Pegus and Danielle Diffenthaller.  They exhibit key traits of successful entrepreneurs – passion, self-discipline, motivation, flexibility, a keen eye to exploit an opportunity, a propensity to take risks, self-confidence; and importantly, perseverance in the face of obstacles; and coming from a business family I understand this.  We should bear in mind Richard Branson’s advice that “failure is one of the secrets to success…”  In naming the older generation, it will be remiss of me if I did not bring to your attention some of the younger but already successful young entrepreneurs.

  • Oliver Sabga – who is just about 30 years old of Term Finance, a web-based company which started in Trinidad and has now extended to Guyana, St. Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica.
  • Mr Aldewyn Wayne – WI Pay, a payment platform already shared by several merchants including Massy Stores.

These are two new and exciting services and when I leave here I meet with representatives of:

  • Cocoa Republic – a locally produced chocolate company started by two very young chocolatiers.

The entrepreneurial journey is unique, requiring distinctive skills.  The presenters this morning have described experiences and issues faced by our entrepreneurs and innovators as they seek to carve out a niche for themselves. I am encouraged that strides continue to be made by both the private and public sector in support of the business community in the existing global economic climate.

 

Vision 2030

The National Development Strategy for Trinidad and Tobago for 2016-2030 (Vision 2030) identifies the need to “create a culture and climate for entrepreneurship and innovation towards creating the economy of tomorrow”.

This blueprint for development envisages the transformation of the country into a society where young people “feel confident in their own ideas to seek out and create their own opportunities engendered by an education that encourages entrepreneurship and innovation.”

The Government has thus adopted a multipronged approach to achieve the objectives of the National Development Strategy including support for a culture of research and development.  Vision 2030 also emphasizes the necessity of the private sector harnessing such activities to enhance growth and competitiveness.

 

National Innovation Policy

If we are to increase our competitiveness, product and process integrity, quality and excellence are paramount. To this end, the Government has developed a National Innovation Policy which has recently received Cabinet’s approval. Implementation of this Policy will create an environment that will position Trinidad and Tobago among the leading knowledge and skills-based countries in this hemisphere.

This is all the more necessary with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the rise of artificial intelligence, and augmented reality and the ubiquitous technological impact of the Internet of Things.

 

Incentives for Supporting Businesses through Innovation

Research is a critical component of this innovation enabling environment required for entrepreneurship. Cognisant of this, and as a means of increasing the role and application of research and innovation in business, the Ministry is re-engineering its existing Research and Development Facility (RDF). The revised facility will be attracted to manufacturing and services and will span the phases of technical and commercial facilities, product and service development and the actual commercialisation, ensuring in particular that the product or service can get out to the export market.

In addition, the current comprehensive suite of incentives including fiscal incentives, import concessions, manufacturing allowances, tax exemptions in manufacturing, creative, maritime and other sectors serve to enable enterprise and to encourage enterprise for innovation.

 

Access to Capital

We know that access to capital is the biggest. Several of the global indicators have placed our country on the lower end of this scale. In particular, the gap is wider for the newer and “different” entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses. Only 11% of startup funding has been accessed through formal financial institutions. I am really heartened by what Republic Bank has indicated today and I hope other financial institutions build on the idea.

But, as a Government, we are addressing this in several ways.

  • A new business development fund in the amount of $50 million TT will provide for working capital and/ or seed capital through grant funding –up to $100,000.
  • A $25 million Grant Fund facility for small and medium-sized businesses already established and engaged in processing and manufacturing – $250,000 per business.
  • The MTI has also been working towards the establishment of a collateral registry and secured transactions regime which will allow for the use of movable property as security – increased financing for entrepreneurs.
  • Agricultural support financial programme: $100,000 grant for new and existing farmers.
  • Several opportunities within the tourism sector.

The Government is reforming the enabling environment to facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation, and also investing in new economic infrastructure for innovators. Those requiring infrastructure can, therefore, obtain land lots, with all utilities, at the Tamana InTech Park in Wallerfield which caters for businesses in ICT, Business Process Outsourcing, Data Processing Centres, Animation and Software Development, High-Value Manufacturing and Financial Services.  An Agro-Processing and Light Industrial Park in Moruga is scheduled to come on stream in 2019 with land and some factory buildings.  A similar project is also planned for Phoenix Park and will commence in 2018.

The Government, together with key partners, continues to make a concerted effort to create a favourable environment for entrepreneurs and enterprises. This includes positively impacting current business conditions and improving the quality and speed of service delivery by the Public Sector through projects aimed at enhancing the ease of doing business.

 

National e-Commerce Strategy

It was Mark DiMassimo (a global entrepreneur ) who said that “The internet remains a place where you can start with nothing and soon challenge the gods.” In order to facilitate the expansion of entrepreneurship, the MTI has been developing a National e-Commerce Strategy which seeks to facilitate and promote e-commerce for local businesses that are serving, or intend to serve, domestic and/or international consumer markets.

Through this e-Commerce Strategy, the Government, will focus among other areas, on:

     building awareness of and providing support to the private-sector in utilizing e-commerce and handling consumer issues; and

     collaborating with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and similar organisations to encourage more firms to have a full online presence on ConnectAmericas (large and free) and other similar platforms.

 

 

The MTI, as a facilitator, continues to implement mechanisms to embolden local businesses recognising that entrepreneurship is indeed a game changer. New business activity truly does support and stimulate economic diversification which is now an imperative. In maintaining this focus, the activities hosted in commemoration of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017 by YBTT will enhance the visibility of local business development activities, the promotion of enterprise and self-employment, and also stimulate further entrepreneurial activity by connecting collaborators, mentors and investors and creating opportunities.

Let me urge you all to build on these connections as a very robust network will be integral to your future success.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is pleased to participate in today’s commemoration as part of a global movement which supports and enables entrepreneurship we are fully aware that it is an important source of value creation and growth. As an Administration, we remain committed to supporting any effort which maximises opportunity, enhances entrepreneurship and, promotes exports.

As enablers, ladies and gentlemen, you are  encouraged to step out into the unknown, build and expand your networks, educate, innovate and build your businesses to not only serve the domestic market but regional and international consumers. You are encouraged to be part of this landscape if even you have to keep remodeling and reinventing yourself. I therefore challenge you to distinguish yourselves, excel, create and innovate; venture into new markets, enhance your businesses, embrace both challenges and opportunities as these are transformative and will only prepare you for success.

 

I thank you.

 

50% Discount for YBTT SMEs to attend Champions of Business 2017

Champions of Business Flyer

The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce will host our “Champions of Business Award Ceremony and Gala Cocktail Reception” on Saturday, November 11, 2017, from 6.30 p.m. – 10.00 p.m. at the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA)

 

This premier event is well attended by executive members of the business community and presents excellent networking opportunities for attendees while also supporting and recognizing outstanding business contributors to the nation.

 

See below our awardees and finalists for this year:

 

Business Hall of Fame – Inductees

  • Dr. Rupert Indar Snr.
  • Mr. Lall Paladee (posthumous)

 

Internationally Known…T&T Owned Company of the Year, sponsored by First Citizens

  • Bermudez Biscuit Company Limited

 

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, sponsored by EY – Finalists

  • Mr. Jules Sobion – Caesar’s Army Limited
  • Mr. Ryan Perkins – Building Spaces Limited
  • Ms. Melissa Moseley and Mr. Marklan Moseley – Sweet  Nothings Edible   Arrangements

 

Start-Up Business, sponsored by EY – Finalists

  • Ms. Dominique Lewis – Amare Probiotics Limited
  • Mr. Nigel Jordan and Ms. Cheryl-Ann Baptiste – Twigs Naturals Limited
  • Ms. Shoma Persad and Ms. Tobye Gill – Tobye and Shoma
  • Ms. Stefanie Thavenot and Ms. Alix Fitzwilliam – Sweet Beet Juice Company

 

Winners in the Emerging Entrepreneur and Start-up Business categories will be announced on the evening of November 11.

GEW EVENT: Our Moving Table

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It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and this year’s host 

The Youth Business of Trinidad & Tobago has partnered with 
Our Moving Table to bring to you a Farm to Table Brunch on the topic of “Food Security & Sustainability: Taste Who You Are!” 
 
Join us as we showcase the versatility of local ingredients through great food and cocktails while networking and discussing how we as 
Trinbagonians can help support food security here at home and help create innovative businesses that can accomplish this goal.
 
We want to invite you come celebrate GEW with us on 
Sunday 19th November from 10am-1pm 
at our home away from home, the gorgeous San Antonio Farms!
Come be a part of the discussion while we bring you the best
 Farm to Table Experience in T&T! 
 
Cost: $300 
(Includes 3-Course Meal, Welcome Cocktails & Non-Alcoholic Bar)
 
To Book Now: reply to this email, call 221-3555 or call/whatsapp 
338-0435 / 708-7623.
 
We can’t wait to welcome you to our table!
 
With every dish and every sound, we hope to serve up fresh perspectives, fiery passion and avid appreciation for local farmers and food, leaving you satisfied but hungry for more. 
We can’t wait for you, to pull up a chair at Our Moving Table and taste who you are.
Cheers & see you soon!