Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago joins the rest of the global entrepreneurial community in celebrating World Entrepreneurs Day! Embedded in its thrust of creating awareness for entrepreneurship on a global scale, WED is yet another major platform that reminds us of the critical role of the entrepreneurial eco-system in re-energizing societies to significant points of sustainability and creativity. True entrepreneurship is only realized when individuals are able to identify gaps and challenges that can only be solved by capitalizing on a unique business opportunity with the capacity to spread its wings at the highest levels.

WED is ideal for not only those who are already navigating within the ecosystem, but to also motivate and influence those wantrepreneurs who may be sitting on the fence thinking about the experience that the ecosystem offers. The commemoration also pushes the new narrative of philanthropreneurship which seeks to increase the philanthropic impact of non-profit organizations, and social entrepreneurship, which is an approach by start-up companies and entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural or environmental issues. Also at the core of WED, is the infusion of creativity and innovation to ensure that entrepreneurs remain at the top of their game particularly when operating in a competitive environment.

YBTT’s relevance in the national ecosystem is validated by a number of its young entrepreneurs who are way ahead of their innovative game like Maria Boneo trading as Maria’s Country Style Pastelles  who says

“I’m continuously engaging in market research to see what the market demands are and how my product fits as that is of utmost importance. I always ensure that my processes are aligned to meet the dynamics of the changing market.”


Do you fear failure?


The fear of failure is probably one of the most common emotions experienced by young entrepreneurs, some of which has to do with a negative mindset infused with self-doubt and uncertainty. Failure is also symptomatic of a reluctance to try new things and/or embarking on new business projects… which also leads to self-sabotage and anxiety. Despite its negative connotations, failure is not a particularly bad thing, as it provokes valuable insights capable of adding value to one’s entrepreneurial pot.

There are many international icons who have experienced failure before basking in the sunshine of success. Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the world’s basketball greats, yet he was cut from his high school basketball team because his coach thought he did not have enough skills. Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest and most successful businessmen, was rejected by Harvard University, and Richard Branson, owner of Virgin empire is a high-school drop-out.

Jumping into the entrepreneurial ring is indeed scary, but once the idea is accompanied with determination, commitment and passion you WIN! In spite of their ages or even levels of experience, most entrepreneurs can tell their fear stories that actually propelled them towards overcoming FEAR.
Can it be overcome…..of course, it can.
Start by setting attainable goals and ignore your inner perfectionist; focus on the passion and grit that influenced you to start your entrepreneurial journey; throw away the idea that there’s a perfect work-life balance as entrepreneurship is about shifting to a 24/7 clock.
Failure is indeed part of becoming successful and instead of focusing on the negative aspect of it, pull out the important lessons that can push you up the entrepreneurial ladder!

Volunteer mentor and
Co-Founder of Market Movers, Rachel Renie shares her thoughts and experience on the fear of failure.

“You must become an expert in your field of business and that comes from trial and error over and over again; documenting each time what works and what doesn’t, and doing more of what works.”

Entrepreneur, Stephen Annan and Owner of Neo Tech Electronics articulated on his experience:

“My biggest fear in choosing entrepreneurship was a return on investments. In my experience, I have personally seen where choosing the wrong location caused businesses to fail and causing persons to abandon entrepreneurship and get a job. This was my fear in going into entrepreneurship whether or not I would make back the capital that would be put out.”

You’ve heard their stories…


Success is always a tipping point for young entrepreneurs; it’s that one word that defines the storyline of your business and therefore all attitude attributes and the overall management of your business must breathe success. Get into the right mindset by having a passion for your business as passion is known for quickly overcoming challenges; remember you are in charge. Be an exemplar of trustworthiness so as to build high levels of confidence in the minds of your employees and customers. Flexibility is integral to continued success as it allows for easy adaptability to a rapidly changing environment; it’s also about building a culture of integrity. Never allow the fear of failure to take away from your moments of success as it’s an opportunity to learn new things to add to your bag of success.

Remember YOU are the major asset to your business so always take care of YOU! Below our YBTT Supported Entrepreneurs shared their perspectives on what success means to them.

“Success to me means the opportunity to make a positive impact on others so they might achieve their greatest potential.” ~ Brian Benoit, Founder, Benoit Academy of Steel Pan

“Success for me is the moments where I take those faith leaps and even the tiny steps that lead me closer to accomplishing my dream.” ~ Tisha Gittens, Founder, Tisha’s Academy of the Performing Arts

“Success to me is finding the perfect balance between my personal life and achieving work goals sustainable; it’s about having good mental, physical and spiritual well-being whilst living a happy and contented life.” ~ Rayanna Boodram, Founder, Sarr Distributors



A recap of 2018 GEWTT Media Launch

Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) has been holding the reigns as the Local Host of Global Entrepreneurship Week for the past eight (8) years; during this time, the organization has and continues to galvanize support from Trinidad and Tobago’s diverse range of stakeholders including donors, potential and existing entrepreneurs who all possess the collective conscience in advancing the development of the national entrepreneurial eco-system. This year’s commemoration held from November 12th – 18th, 2018 was extremely timely, as many more are beginning to accept entrepreneurship as not only the preferred revenue stream, but also as a platform to explore the depth of one’s creative potential in relation to the various business sectors.

As interest and significance continue to grow, YBTT is committed towards using GEW as a national platform to amplify entrepreneurial movement beyond its 18-35 demographic; this is so, as the GEW brand, which is positioned as the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups, bring ideas to life and drive economic growth, is beginning to evolve into a larger entrepreneurial template, geared towards igniting conversations support by concerted action.  

Commitment by Corporate Trinidad & Tobago

Every year, there remains a robust commitment by specific organizations who are not only sold on YBTT’s vision, but whose corporate responsibility includes support towards entrepreneurial development. On board again this year were Massy Foundation, Republic Bank Limited, Unit Trust Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago and TSTT b-mobile.

GEW Partnering – Shifting the Paradigm

Supporting YBTT in ensuring the success of yet another GEW, were 25 partners who are also committed to the continued enhancement of entrepreneurial development in Trinidad and Tobago; this  culminated in  33 events all infused with the global themes of Women, Youth and Inclusion. Itwas an awesome experience with the American Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Bead Café, Pump International, Power 102FM, NineBreaker Limited, The DocuCentre, Intellectual Property Office, CARIFIC Coaching and Consulting, ChoiceHR Limited, National Secondary Schools’ Entrepreneurship Competition, Monivan Digital Marketing Solutions, Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, COSTAATT, CARIRI, Share Home Caribbean/UWI’s Department of Management Studies/Institute of Service & Quality Management, We Say Y.E.S Organization, Cash Flow Club, Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs; Our Moving Table, The League of ExtraOrdinary  Entrepreneurs, Sharisse Hosein, Shell LiveWIRE Program and the University of Trinidad and Tobago.

Youth in Spotlight

Youths throughout Trinidad and Tobago got their fair share of the GEW experience through their participation in the Youth Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship competition which provided them with opportunities to showcase their creative and innovative potential! A potpourri of ideas emerged from a Bio-Degradable Waste Management System to an On-Line Tutoring Service. This initiative would serve as a template for  GEW 2019 as YBTT continues to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit within the school community. 14-year old Shivani Rampersad of ASJA Girls’ College, Barrackpore got the judges’ nod with her innovative idea of a  Pet Emergency Health Services which was born out of a need to provide adequate health care for pets in Trinidad and Tobago. Competition sponsors Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, TSTT bmobile and Les Bourgeois Gourmet Services Limited were extremely delighted to support this initiative given their commitment to youth development.                                                                                                                                                                                  

Moving Forward

As the local flag bearer of Global Entrepreneurship Week, YBTT remains steadfast in strengthening its efforts and commitment to not only supporting and nurturing the 18-35 demographic in developing innovative and sustainable businesses,  but to continue holding hands and collaborating with like-minded stakeholders dedicated to advancing the national eco-system.

Pic from Launch it or Lose it Pitch Event

Digital Entrepreneur Study



Thank you for your participation in our short study. The aim of this study is for Youth Business Trinidad & Tobago to better understand how Trinidad & Tobago’s entrepreneurs are using digital technologies, to help us evolve the services we provide to you in the future.


This study is anonymous, and participation is entirely voluntary. Please do not share any sensitive information to your business or any personally identifiable information. Your responses will be shared with the project team working on designing the future digital services for Youth Business Trinidad & Tobago. Specific quotes from this study may be used in the upcoming entrepreneur experience workshops, any quotes will be anonymous and will not be linked to you individually.


Your Mission:


You have three missions to complete over the course of one week at work. The best way to complete these missions is to fill out the form in the moment you are performing the activity.



Mission 1: Each day at work, tell us about 1 way you use digital to manage your business tell us what could make it easier.

You can complete this mission by accessing the following link:


Please note, you should fill in this form once per day over the course of one week at work.



Mission 2: Tell us about 3 different ways you interact (or have interacted) with Youth Business Trinidad & Tobago and tell us how you feel about each interaction.

You can complete this mission by accessing the following link here:


Please note, you should fill in this form at least three times.



Mission 3: Each day, tell us about one way you are using your cell phone or your PC that is not related to your business and tell us why you are doing this activity (i.e. entertainment, contact friends, etc.).


Please note, you should fill in this form once per day over the course of one week at work.


Thank you for your support!


Special Rate: A Master Conference in Disruption


Special Eshot - Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago

For the past 15 years, the DLIC conference has cemented itself as a staple event, and has captured the title of the most prestigious leadership conference in the region.  Arthur Lok Jack GSB are honoured to be featuring Professor Luke Williams Leading Consultant, Educator and Speaker, specializing in Disruptive Innovation, at DLIC 2018, which will be held on May 24th at the Hyatt Regency, Trinidad.


Under this year’s theme of “A Master Conference in Disruption”, local and regional captains of industry will be led by Professor Luke Williams to explore the concepts and practices of Disruptive Thinking, Disruptive Leadership and Disruptive Technologies. Given the current business environment, the proposed theme is very apt to the market climate.  Offering solutions, DLIC 2018 will be a profound learning experience, and a catalyst for our leaders to consciously and intentionally choose the alternative, which inspires transformation in our region.


Arthur Lok Jack GSB is pleased to extend a special registration to  Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) Entrepreneurs until April 13th 2018.


To register kindly complete and sign the registration form at the bottom and return to Nicole Morain at n.morain@lokjackgsb.edu.tt or  directly at 645-6700 ext 364.

Click here for Registration form

Chair’s Report 2017

YBTT Media Launch 2017 (14 of 51)




It has been a pleasure to serve as YBTT Chair for the last three years. Today, I am honoured to report to you on our progress over the period 1st October 2016 to 30th September 2017.


I am delighted to begin my report by acknowledging Shedron Collins, our General Manager, and each of our team members for their engagement, professionalism and team-spirit over the last year. I especially want to thank the Board of Directors for their involvement, dedication and support for YBTT and for me, in my role of Chair.


My remarks will reflect our GEW 2017 theme, “Entrepreneurship as the Game-Changer”. I will comment on the state of play as we co-create a culture of youth entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago; review the value of the contributions we’re making as YBTT; and comment on our 2018/2020 strategic outlook. The game is fast-moving, constantly evolving and we, at YBTT, are in its midst. Our 17-year legacy as well as our more recent investments in developing our people, sharpening team focus, expanding our strategic networks, and building internal capacity have positioned us as a high-potential player and a valuable partner to entrepreneurs, donors and other entrepreneurial eco-system stakeholders. There’s no single clear-cut linear game-plan that will create the culture of entrepreneurship to which we and other stakeholders aspire. Like the entrepreneurial journey, success lies in a series of co-ordinated movements – experimentation, iteration, adaptation, failure, refinement and resilient pursuit of the goal. For us, at YBTT, continuing focus, learning, and agility will remain our ground rules as we play our part to intensify the co-creating work required to accelerate the emergence of a vibrant entrepreneurship sector in Trinidad and Tobago. Our quality interventions to support Young Entrepreneurs (YE’s) and to strengthen economic development through nurturing entrepreneurship, innovation and meaningful employment, are needed more than ever. As our YE’s succeed and scale, they will expand the country’s SME sector, creating new technologies, sustainable solutions and becoming the nucleus for the development of tomorrow’s conglomerates and multi-nationals. This is what makes entrepreneurship the game-changer – its potential to catalyze Trinidad and Tobago’s economic recovery, future prosperity and social stability.



Looking Back To Look Forward


At the end of my 2015/2016 report I encouraged us to “resolve, as we continue our YBTT journey, to keep the momentum of positivity, strength and growth that we have achieved; to collaborate enthusiastically with our donors, mentors, the YBI network and other support partners; and to serve our YE’s and each other with joy and mutual respect as we do our part to secure a prosperous, secure and sustainable future for our country and for the world.”


We celebrated our 17th year as an NGO, having 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 and mentorship to YE’s who “would not otherwise have the opportunity”. Some survived beyond the start-up period, scaled up, created employment and are now successfully running their own businesses. Over the years, however, a broader definition of ‘under-served’ emerged – there were growing numbers of young people becoming interested in entrepreneurship who were ill-equipped financially, experientially and emotionally for the challenge. Also, there was an intensifying national and regional conversation around entrepreneurship, and, particularly, youth entrepreneurship.


Over 2015/2017, we pursued four key 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. In late 2017, the Board and staff members began the process of co-creating our 2018/2020 Strategic Plan. Board members and staff formed a united team to chart our future course. Our conversations were vibrant, fun, insightful and energizing.  The final document will be completed by the end of March 2018.


Since inception, YBTT’s strength has lied within its ability to create powerful support networks. In 2017, we strengthened existing relationships and created new ones. We were awarded a 3-year unconditional reaccreditation from the UK-based Youth Business International (YBI), of whom we have been a member since 2000. For the eigth consecutive year, we hosted Global Entrepreneurship Week, securing the collaboration of 26 local partners. In addition, we collaborated with civil society members within the SDGs Catalysts Network and re-energized our involvement in the Commonwealth Alliance for Youth Entrepreneurship within the Caribbean and Canada (CAYE-C&C).


One of our proudest moments in 2017 and the outcome of many hours of preparation, was the launch of our inclusion in the Shell LiveWIRE global network. The Shell LiveWire programme expands our traditional support services to include business acceleration support, access to SHELL LiveWIRE international platforms and market linkages, and includes opportunities for participating YE’s to supply Shell’s value-chain. Overall, our shared intention is to align our efforts to national economic development strategy by supporting YE’S to build out new industries in the areas of Energy Solutions, Recycling & Waste Management, Agriculture, Hospitality and Eco-Tourism. In 2017, three YBTT-supported entrepreneurs, Brian Benoit, Deidre Lee Kin and Maria Boneo, were among 20 applicants within the global Shell Top Ten Innovators Competition. At the November launch, Maria was celebrated as the winner of the Merit Prize. The programme will be one of YBTT’s priority projects in 2018 and beyond. At the national level, the focus will be on existing entrepreneurs who have the potential to grow and who operate within the Energy Solutions, Recycling & Waste Management, and Agriculture sectors. In Tobago, we will focus on eco-tourism and hospitality businesses.


YBTT’s involvement in the Youth Entrepreneurship Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (YEP) deserves special mention as we benefitted from the YEP programme in several ways. One of the most significant was the provision of a CUSO International Technical Advisor, Femi James, on a 12-month institutional strengthening consultancy project. During this period, she completed a comprehensive Institutional Needs Assessment covering organizational, administrative and operational perspectives; compiled an Action Plan for YBTT; then worked with us to execute it. The next steps include the completion, by the end of April 2018, of a Harmonized Entrepreneurial Training Programme that will create shared curriculum and training delivery across three regional YBT’s, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Jamaica. One of YBTT’s entrepreneurs, Kerron Modeste, of Modeste Home Growers Company Limited, emerged as one of 3 finalists for the YEP awards 2017 and attended the YEP regional conference in September 2017.


Over the years, YBTT’s success has been fuelled by the quality of our relationships. We appreciate deeply the generous support of our Donors. Their contributions continue to make it possible for us to help YE’s to fulfil their dreams and play their part in the country’s social and economic development. In 2016/2017, we received funding from Shell Trinidad and Tobago, from the International Development Bank (IDB) through YBI and from CIBC/First Caribbean International Bank, Republic Bank Limited, the Neal & Massy Foundation, United Way/Citi Foundation, CUSO International, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), and the Unit Trust Corporation. In April 2017, we received a Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation and monetary award from the J B Fernandes Memorial Trust II.


Equally important are the Mentors who support our YE’s. During 2017, we worked more closely with them to improve the quality of our support and strengthen our acknowledgement and appreciation of their contributions.


Financial strength is fundamental to YBTT’s ability to sustain its progress. In 2017, we continued to enhance our loan portfolio management through consistent focus and follow-up. Despite the economic challenges experienced by our YE’s, the overall performance of the loan portfolio improved. Our shift in focus to the provision of enhanced training, mentoring and support services from the start of the YBTT/YE relationship has improved the quality of the loan applications received and the survival rate of their businesses.


The 2016/2017 Audited Financials reflect small decreases in both revenue and expenditure that resulted in a more favourable end of year surplus. The fact is that we need, as an NGO, to become more self-reliant and established a Financial Sustainability Board Committee to explore and recommend a way forward. Two key proposals have resulted from consultation among the Directors and staff. Our next steps will be taken as part of our 2018 Key Projects.


Our Call To Action


The game continues! Our Caribbean neighbours, Barbados and Jamaica, have set bold 2020 goals to lead the way in their support for entrepreneurship and innovation. Globally, there is growing interest and investment in support for women and YE’s. Exciting new initiatives aligned with national socio-economic development areas are being crafted and implemented. Support for entrepreneurship development is moving beyond access to the traditional training, mentorship, loans and grants. Innovative mechanisms are being created to provide equity capital, leverage the power of diaspora networks, encourage the involvement of venture-oriented professionals, and explore new types of customer relationships. Academia is pursuing the significant opportunities to support through research and the use of non-traditional learning and evaluation methodologies. Stakeholder networks are expanding as all the parties – private, public, academic and non-profit sectors – move beyond collaboration to co-creation to design, build and sustain entrepreneurial ecosystems appropriate to the unique characteristics and perspectives of each country.


In Trinidad and Tobago our entrepreneurship development playbook is still in its earliest stages. It’s time now for us as a country, as powerful stakeholder groups and as individuals to get off the sidelines. We must recognize that our skepticism and negativity is rooted in fear and start trusting in our talent, our resourcefulness, our creativity and the power of co-creating the future of entrepreneurship. Let us seize 2018 as our year to accelerate and intensify our efforts to remove the blocks that diminish our untapped potential so that we open the way to new possibilities.


YBTT chooses to stay in the game! We understand that to do so means we must continue to be relevant, focused, open to opportunity, unafraid of risk, curious to learn and, above all, driven and fuelled by our passion and belief in the tremendous value that we can contribute to our YE’s and our country. We resolve, therefore, to ourselves model the entrepreneurial mindset, the responsibility and accountability that we want to see from our YE’s and all the stakeholders. Going forward, we resolve to advance entrepreneurship positively and courageously, strengthening our YE’s to achieve their highest potential levels of personal growth, business success, sustainability, and national impact.


To taking entrepreneurship to the next level in 2018 and beyond!



Dale Laughlin


March 15th, 2018

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.