“To play a leadership role in developing a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in establishing sustainable businesses in Trinidad and Tobago’
“To help young entrepreneurs who would not otherwise have the opportunity, to fulfill their ambition, and contribute to the community through the medium of self-employment and development of their self-confidence’
Click here for our : YBTT 2013 Annual Report
YBTT’s journey started in February 2000 during the visit to Trinidad and Tobago of HRH The Prince of Wales. It was an initiative of the then British High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Mr. Peter Harborne. YBTT became an affiliate of Youth Business International (YBI), then a joint venture between The Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum and The Prince’s Trust. With unemployment among the country’s youth at unacceptable levels, the intention was to initiate a local programme fashioned after the YBI model. YBTT was Incorporated as a Non-Profit Company and registered as a charitable body in accordance with the Corporation Tax Act of Trinidad and Tobago.
Its mandate was to play a leadership role in building, releasing and sustaining the entrepreneurial spirit in economically disadvantaged young people between the ages of 18 and 35, by increasing opportunities for them to start and grow strong, sustainable business through providing finance in the form of loans up to $30,000, mentorship, training and networking opportunities.
Now in its 14th year of operation, YBTT has built solid partnerships with donor organizations. United Way Trinidad and Tobago, Massy Foundation, JB Fernandes Memorial Trust I, Republic Bank Limited continues to support its work annually. Over the years the group of donors was expanded to include international agencies (IADB), public sector agencies (Ministry of National Security), international partners (British Gas Trinidad and Tobago, USAID)
YBTT’s involvements have expanded in several ways. Since 2010 it has joined and contributed to the conversation on youth entrepreneurship in T&T building a solid reputation with key public and private sector partners. In November 2010, it hosted Global Entrepreneurship Week and has continued to do so for the last 4 years, steadily expanding the quantity and quality of its GEW partners, stakeholders and activities, thus increasing its reach to young entrepreneurs.
The NGO’s momentum and thus social and economic impact has peaked and ebbed over the years. There were times when the funding was inadequate and thus it moved away from its initial reliance on fund-raising by Directors, to generation of funding support through strengthening and expanding its relationships with donor agencies.
· In 2006 a significant contribution of $105,000 was received through a proposal submitted by YBTT to the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Trust in England.
· An IADB loan made USD 400,000 available to YBTT over a four-year period with funds being allocated both towards loans and operations.
· More recently YBTT has received funds from the Ministry of National Security’s Citizens Security Programme; British Gas Trinidad and Tobago; the Chevron Corporation, the Citi Foundation (through United Way Trinidad and Tobago); and USAID – regional YEPEC Programme.
Through the years, under the leadership of General Managers, Garland Samuel, Gloria Rolingson (now serving as a Board member) and Shedron Collins, the commitment and energy of the YBTT staff has remained strong. Currently headcount is being expanded bringing to provide the capacity required to achieve an increasing number of projects.
The sterling leadership of past Chairmen, Gaston Aguillera and Richard Young has left a legacy on which YBTT is building its future. Its Directors continue to be high-profile representatives of the private sector. In 2014 the Board has been strengthened and Board Champions appointed for each of the main areas of operation – Mentoring, Finance, Marketing, Credit and Strategic Planning.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) performed YBTT’s audits annually to 2004. Since then Bob Gopee and Associates, Chartered Accountants, have taken over this responsibility.
Going forward, the NGO is mindful of the support it continues to provide to numerous young entrepreneurs of Trinidad and Tobago in the form of Funding, Business Mentoring, Business Training and opportunities for Networking, at the same time YBTT is aware of the challenges of being a microfinance lender operating in a high-risk environment. It is thus critical that improved focus, execution and results be brought to the five priority areas – YBTT Support Services, ICT, Partnership, Brand Awareness and Internal Capacity Strengthening – identified in the October 2014-September 2017 Strategic Plan.
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.
The T&T Economic Environment continues to be energy-based. The recent fall in the price of oil and the uncertain outlook for a short-term recovery, makes the support services provided by YBTT and, indeed, the YBI network, even more relevant. 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 – will escalate not lessen.
It is for this reason that YBTT must support the young aspiring entrepreneurs and future business leaders of Trinidad and Tobago. In so doing, the NGO will help to create a facilitating environment in which the young people of this country and the region can discover their full potential and access sustainable opportunities for entrepreneurship.