Press Releases

BE A REFLECTION OF SUCCESS!

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


BE A REFLECTION OF SUCCESS!

REMINISCING ON GEW 2018



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

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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.

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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.

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Your Mission:

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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.

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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:

https://goo.gl/forms/WxdLQ8aLlFBH79ER2

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

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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:

https://goo.gl/forms/8Gj4ncXF1KOomaeA2

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

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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.).

https://goo.gl/forms/zf259KV1nqe1bLAp2

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

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Thank you for your support!

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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.

 

YBTT CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEER DAY

 

Today is “International Volunteer Day” and Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) joins with the rest of world in saluting persons who volunteer their time and effort towards global development at varying levels. Volunteerism in its purest sense is giving of one’s time and energy to various causes which require a great effort for many, but for some, it is a display of goodwill and passion in helping others succeed in being the best that they can be. The power of volunteerism permeates throughout the many facets of the sustainable development agenda for governments, NGOs, and CBOs, as it strengthens engagement and mobilization of communities and individuals.

 

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International Volunteer Day 2016 theme: Global Applause: Give volunteers a hand

Volunteerism is part of  YBTT’s DNA, as the bedrock of nurturing young and  successful entrepreneurs is mirrored  through a structured mentorship programme. According to YBTT’s General Manager, Shedron Collins “mentorship starts with a relationship between a mentor and a mentee aimed at supporting the journey of the young entrepreneur and growing their business; because of its uniqueness, young entrepreneurs look forward to that supportive figure who they can trust to share both personal and professional information necessary in ensuring success in their entrepreneurial journey.”

 

YBTT boasts of having some 40+ mentors on their mentorship database, all possessing diverse profiles that span across a broad spectrum of disciplines included but not limited to Marketing, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, Financial and Cash Flow Management, Marketing and Communications and Business Development. Of the three (3) streams of services offered by YBTT, mentorship sits at the top as it focuses on the after-care support provided to young entrepreneurs post-training and loan financing.

 

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Each YBTT Mentor receives training handed down from our Global YBI Network

 

YBTT remains committed to ensuring that young entrepreneurs are properly resourced and supported at every level of their operations, and so, the mentors are considered vital to the sustainability of the organization. Collins adds “in the absence of our committed pool of volunteer business mentors, our NGO would be far from achieving its mandate, and therefore, YBTT expresses heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our hard-working mentors who continue to mold and shape young entrepreneurs through the individual and group mentoring elements of the programme.”

As we salute our mentors, we are calling business professionals who are committed to the development of youth entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago, to get on board by calling YBTT at 665-8621 or email us at entrepreneur@ybtt.org.

 

By Sandrine Rattan

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Sharing the YBTT experience

JUST ONE minute into my conversation with performance management consultant, training facilitator and Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago YBTT mentor, Pearl Yatali Gonzales, was sufficient evidence of her passion to empower and support young people, particularly entrepreneurs.

Briefly describing her personality, she stated: “I believe that success is continuous learning; I am a fun-loving, caring and helpful person with a pinch of sarcasm.” Interestingly, the sarcasm has to do with Gonzales’ dislike for poor service behaviour which she believes is detrimental to the progress of any society.

Gonzales’ love for developing both young wantrepreneurs and existing entrepreneurs, was the greatest influence in her association with YBTT for the past five years.

She is YBTT ’s facilitator of the life skills’ component of the entrepreneurial training which is the foundation requirement for starting the entrepreneurial journey.

She is also one of its longest serving mentors.

As she puts it, “YBTT mentorship programme offers entrepreneurs their first step in networking, improves their ‘cold-calling’ skills, as well as an introduction to potential financiers and investors.” YBTT entrepreneur Keigan Lewis who has been one of Gonzales’ mentees for the past two years was happy to share his experience: “Gonzales was the best mentor that I have crossed paths with, as she was able to assist me in realising my greatest entrepreneurial potential.” Since facilitating this component of the training, approximately 60 young entrepreneurs have reaped the benefits from her tutelage, as they were able to discover their true being and effectively link that knowledge to their entrepreneurial pursuits.

Gonzales has been described by many, as a taskmaster who is determined to successfully measure outcomes aligned to the training.

“Through my involvement with YBTT , I am able to fulfill my personal mission, which is to add value to every interaction with every human being,” she added.

In commending YBTT on its efforts in transforming young lives, she affirmed: “YBTT ’s training programmes are designed to change mindsets, as upon successful completion, trainees are able to contribute towards building their communities, as well as start and/or enhance their entrepreneurial endeavours.” A major element that is demonstrated from early in the training, is that true entrepreneurial spirit relates to continuously thinking of new ways to solve problems and generate revenue, and not about creating a job for oneself.

Gonzales’ advice to young wantrepreneurs is to explore all opportunities presented to them both within and outside of their communities; to existing entrepreneurs, she throws out the challenge to attempt as far as possible, to meet the needs of their communities, with whatever products and/or services that they can offer, and in so doing, demonstrate the highest level of quality customer service.

By: Sandrine Rattan

Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)

 

Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, December 31st, 2015

See link here: http://www.newsday.co.tt/features/0,221951.html

 

 

Women of business strengthen alliances

THE CONCEPT of strategic alliances has always played a pivotal role in not only supporting but also strengthening female entrepreneurship. Female entrepreneurship formed a major part of the conversation of GEW efforts globally, and Trinidad and Tobago was also part of that experience.

A cross-section of women from various sectors converged recently at the Teaching and Learning Complex, University of the West Indies (UWI), to engage in a fruitful panel discussion themed “Using Strategic Alliances to Strengthen Female Entrepreneurship.” Hosted as a collaborative effort by Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (PLOTT ) and The Institute for Gender and Development Studies, UWI , the event was moderated by Dr Paula Morgan, Head of Department, IGDS St Augustine unit, UWI. In opening the discussions, Morgan stated: “This initiative demonstrates the seriousness with which the UWI facilitates its outreach activities in support of independent and aggressive research. Every young person should be prepared to become an entrepreneur.” The panellists comprised industry experts who are also established female entrepreneurs including Dale Laughlin, chairman of Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT ); Gillian Wall, founder/chairman and group CEO – IBB Holdings and co-founder of PLOTT ; Jennifer Jones-Morales, PhD candidate, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of of Management (UWI); Antoinette Maund, chairman, ANMA Holdings Ltd and Anthea Walcott, Owner of Flowers to Treasure.

In her contribution Wall stated that “simply ‘belief ’ in oneself causes all uncertainty to disappear; there is no right time for an entrepreneur – start now! “An entrepreneurial spirit should be inculcated in every employee; when more business owners become comfortable with young professionals sharing their dreams, more businesses will be established and of course, the country’s gross domestic product will increase.” Wall also described the importance of the social impact of entrepreneurship created by social entrepreneurs who use commerce to positively impact the environment within which they operate.

Laughlin used “Feminine Capital”, a book authored by Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott, that focuses on unlocking the power of women entrepreneurs, as the basis to showcase the success of some of YBTT ’s female entrepreneurs including Jineal Chichester, Nikita Legall, La Toya Burgess and Asiya Mohammed, all of whom are testimonies to the power of entrepreneurship.

By: Sandrine Rattan

Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)

 

Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, November 26th, 2015

See link here: http://www.newsday.co.tt/features/0,220457.html

Linking BG’s Social Performance to Sustainable Enterprise Development

YBTT Feature - BG and GEW (Published on Thursday November 19, 2015 - Newsday)BG Trinidad and Tobago (Platinum Sponsor of GEW 2015), through its operational diversity, has proven its corporate worth beyond the global LNG business. The evidence of this is profound according to the founding tenets of its Social Performance Policy. “At BG Group, we have fifteen (15) business principles that set out our core beliefs, values and behaviours that govern the way we do business” said Leslie Bowrin, the organization’s Head of Social Performance.

Bowrin continued “social performance describes the way in which we meet our commitments to society; these principles state that we work with neighbouring communities which benefit from our presence; we also listen to those communities, and we support Human Rights within our areas of influence.” The organization firmly believes that social performance begins with recognizing the impact that its business activities would have on the communities and societies within which they operate, that can be either positive or negative. “In our social performance policy, we set out our belief that in order to be effective in meeting our objectives, we need to establish and maintain effective relationships with interested and affected stakeholders, avoid or minimize the negative impact of our activities, and create and deliver opportunities that maximize our business benefits to society” said Bowrin.

There are some specific areas of focus that are aligned to the organization’s social programmes, which seek to promote sustainable development within its neighbouring communities as well as the wider national community. “We believe that sustainable development in energy-based economies such as ours, depend on maximum utilization of our hydrocarbon resources for the development of skills, knowledge, competencies and expertise to generate economic activity in other sectors” stated Bowrin.

BG’s core areas for its social investment include building awareness of and promoting Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers; Youth Entrepreneurship and Training and Livelihood Development. The holistic development of young people remains a  high-priority item on the organization’s agenda, which has resulted in a global partnership with Youth Business International in the U.K. Describing the partnership, Bowrin articulated “supporting entrepreneurship is a key part of BG Group’s social investment strategy to promote employment in the countries where we work; over the next few years, this global partnership aims to introduce 8,000 young people to entrepreneurship, create 1,500 new businesses and generate 2,600 jobs.”

This strategic partnership enables the BG Group to improve the business skills of young people, support young people to start or grow a business, provide employment opportunities for thousands of people who lack the skills to work directly for BG Group or in BG Group’s supply chain, help grow and strengthen the local small and medium-sized business sector, respond to expectations from communities for economic benefits and skills transfer, through job creation and enterprise development and demonstrate BG Group and YBI’s expertise in supporting enterprise development.

Long-term sustainability is also a critical success factor for the organization. As Bowrin puts it “when we talk about establishing and maintaining effective relationships, our aim is to ensure that host societies and host communities are broadly happy for us to proceed with our investments and activities, and to ensure that they remain broadly supportive in the long run.” The organization believes that it must secure a “social licence to operate” from its stakeholders. Though Governments provide the regulatory context for its operations, a range of other stakeholders also influence the organization’s ability to meet its business objectives successfully.

Entrepreneurial development builds long-term sustainability, and is thus a major area of focus for the organization. Bowrin emphasized the importance in the context of providing greater support towards youth entrepreneurship. “BG identifies entrepreneurship particularly youth entrepreneurship as a critical area of focus for economic development. We prefer not to restrict our focus to high-risk communities as such, but rather to promote youth entrepreneurship wherever there is the drive and capacity to embark on this road. Entrepreneurship emerges from many varied sources and our partnership with Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is committed to unearthing and developing entrepreneurs nationwide.”

 

By: Sandrine Rattan

Project Co-ordinator – Stakeholder & Media Relations (YBTT)

 

Published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday on Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week with T&T Host – YBTT

YBTT Feature - YBTT and GEW (Published on Wednesday November 18, 2015 - Guardian)

Mr. Shedron Collins, General Manager, Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago

 

Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago (YBTT) is an accredited member of Youth Business International (YBI), an international network of youth business programmes. YBTT, with the support of the business community, helps young persons to work for themselves by providing access to loans, entrepreneurial training and business mentorship. Sitting at the helm of the organization as the General Manager, is Shedron Collins, a young and visionary professional, who, through his developmental journey with the organization since 2009, has a clear understanding of the entrepreneurial needs of young persons between the ages of 18-35 years who come into contact with the organization on a daily basis either through social media, visits to the company’s website, or walk-ins.

According to Collins “whilst we understand that all young persons can’t become entrepreneurs, YBTT is committed to providing a solid foundation for young Wantrepreneurs by exposing them to a holistic entrepreneurial training programme which we facilitate on an on-going basis.”  He continued “entrepreneurship starts with a renewed mindset understanding that once you step into the entrepreneurial ring, the sky is the limit to achieve your biggest business objectives; YBTT’s most important offering is the opportunity to take risk and become an entrepreneur.”

The After-Care support provided by the organization is one of its major assets, a service that is rarely provided by other institutions. Collins added “it is our belief, that the after-care approach towards entrepreneurship is an ideal, as you’re able to monitor and measure the success and/or failure of the business, and in so doing, use appropriate interventions to treat with the relevant issues.”

Because of its astuteness in addressing the needs of young entrepreneurs, the organization has been the Trinidad and Tobago host of Global Entrepreneurship Week for the past five (5) years, an initiative which is considered to be its flagship. GEW, which is celebrated in more than 160 countries in November of each year and endorsed by world leaders including US President, Barack Obama, is the world’s largest celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups and bring ideas to live, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

As Collins puts it “during our period as the T&T host, we have been successful in not only galvanizing support from major corporate sponsors and partners, but we were also able to influence and motivate individuals into becoming entrepreneurs; our major role as Host, is to bring as many partners on board as possible.”

GEW in Trinidad and Tobago has been growing tremendously as entrepreneurial stakeholders have been demonstrating their commitment in a profound way. In addition to the annual partners such as the Arthur Lok Jack Biz Booster, Civilian Conservations Corp.,Council for Competitiveness and Innovation (Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development), Conec Professional Services, Export Centres Limited,  Junior Achievement of Trinidad and Tobago, Launch Rockit, The Lily Foundation for Human Development (Tobago), NEDCO,  University of Trinidad and Tobago and YTEPP, there are new partners who have endorsed the significance of GEW through their participation for 2015. These include a cross-section of Rotary Clubs, the Institute of Gender Studies (University of the West Indies), Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago, Jason Charles and Associates and Yo Pro(a global NGO).

GEW promises to be a national conversation beyond the week of November 16th – 22nd, 2015. To be part of this journey visit the GEW website at tt.gew.co.

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