YBTT’s Global Entrepreneurship Week – Supporting T&T’s Young Entrepreneurs

“Global Entrepreneurship Week” (GEW) is here again at our doorsteps – November 17th – 23rd, 2014!  GEW is the world’s largest celebration of entrepreneurship. Hosted annually in November, in more than 150 countries around the world, its goal is to stimulate and release   entrepreneurial spirit by connecting aspiring as well as existing entrepreneurs to potential collaborators, mentors and investors. As part of the GEW’s global community and as the local host since 2011, YBTT is partnering with major local stakeholders from the public and private sectors as well as civil society to host in 2014, an exciting collection of events, activities and competitions throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

But before delving further into GEW, let’s understand YBTT’s role in Trinidad and Tobago.

Chairman of YBTT, Mrs. Dale Laughlin took us on a journey sharing YBTT’s vision “to play a leadership role in developing a culture of entrepreneurship among young people in Trinidad and Tobago” through supporting them “in establishing sustainable businesses”. According to Laughlin YBTT is the ‘go-to’ or ‘hub’ organization for youth entrepreneurship.  We provide a suite of support services for young persons between the ages of 18 and 35 – from those who are dreaming of starting their own business to those who want to scale up their existing operations and all in-between, including the many who feel that the challenges are insurmountable. YBTT’s expanding suite of support services includes training in life skills, financial management and business plan development; Mentoring; Loan Financing; provision of networking opportunities and general business advice.”

Founded in February 2000 YBTT’s initial mandate was to be “lenders of last resort” helping “young people who would not otherwise have an opportunity to develop their-self confidence, achieve economic independence, fulfill their ambitions and contribute to the community through the medium of self-employment”.  Over the last 14 years, we have built strategic alliances with a diversified mix of regional and international partners and donors.  Some of these include BG Trinidad and Tobago, United Way Trinidad and Tobago, the Neal and Massy Foundation, First Caribbean International (Trinidad & Tobago) Bank Limited and Republic Bank Limited.  “We acknowledge  their generous support and appreciate deeply the opportunity to continue to collaborate with them in contributing meaningfully to youth entrepreneurship development in our country”

YBTT has continued to invest in capacity building. As Laughlin puts it “YBTT’s greatest strength is our small team of committed, talented professionals who every day focus on serving our stakeholders.  From a leadership perspective we were fortunate over the years to have benefitted from the visionary strength of past Chairmen, Gaston Aguillera and Richard Young, and of Board Directors, each of whom were successful businessmen and women.  Our recently-appointed General Manager, Shedron Collins, is a young man with a deep understanding of YBTT and a powerful commitment to leading our team to achieve its mandate.    

She continued Youth unemployment and underemployment are a global challenge. As a member of Youth Business International, the only global network dedicated exclusively to supporting under-served young entrepreneurs, we are part of the solution by providing T&T’s young entrepreneurs with relevant support services.  We’re doing this by, enhancing the delivery of our support services, strengthening our strategic partnerships, building more robust operational processes, improving our internal measurement and evaluation systems to more accurately determine our impact, and contributing more fully to the evolving national discussion on youth entrepreneurship as a driver of economic and social development.

“Our theme for GEW 2014 is ‘Get Connected …Start Now!’.  The message to all our young people is clear:  “Entrepreneurship is an option – exciting, perilous yet potentially rewarding for you and for our country.  Consider entrepreneurship as an option and when you do understand that “You’re not alone!  And You don’t have to do it on your own!  We, YBTT, and a growing collection of organizations are creating a local entrepreneurial eco-system to support you in accessing the finance, mentorship, skills-training, infrastructural support and networking opportunities that you need to start and grow a sustainable business!  All you need to do is connect with us!  Start now!”

We invite you to connect with the eco-system on Saturday 8th November, 2014 to get a first-hand experience of the “Entrepreneurial Eco-System”. Join us at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Centre, Wrightson Board, Port-of-Spain.  Look out for more details in the media.

Want to be part of this life-changing experience? Call the YBTT team at 665-8621 or visit our GEW website at tt.gew.co.