Youth entrepreneurship organisations from thirteen Commonwealth countries across the Caribbean and including Canada have agreed to form a regional alliance of young entrepreneurs. The group will be called the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Caribbean & Canada (CAYE-C&C).
The Alliance will be modelled on the Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE), which was formed in 2011 and brings together young entrepreneurs from Commonwealth countries in Asia. The decision was unanimously reached by twenty organisations at a forum hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat from 10 to 12 December 2014 in Barbados.
The proposed mission of the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Caribbean & Canada (CAYE-C&C) is to:
- Empower and nurture young people through access to essential resources including entrepreneurship training, financial and technical support, networking and mentorship opportunities;
- Advocate for policies conducive to creating a strong entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem; and
- Gain global recognition as the voice and face of young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and Canada.
The Alliance will focus on building support for youth entrepreneurship, promoting knowledge-sharing among member organisations and stakeholders, providing information to young entrepreneurs, and facilitating regional trade for young entrepreneurs.
Speaking at the forum, Katherine Ellis, Director of Youth at the Commonwealth Secretariat, welcomed the groundswell of support received for establishing the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs-Caribbean & Canada.
Ms Ellis said: “This Alliance will be an invaluable network for young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean and Canada, and help to build trading opportunities and represent their interests across the 53 nations of the Commonwealth and beyond. At the Commonwealth Secretariat, we are committed to the cause of youth enterprise, and we will continue to support and connect young entrepreneurs so that their voices are heard by decision makers at the highest levels.”
Matt Sweeting, Chairman of the Organization of Young Professionals in The Bahamas, said: “As we strengthen our resolve to empower youth entrepreneurship nationally our partnership in the Commonwealth Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs is a tremendous value-add in that direction. We equally see the value in creating working international relationships with other Commonwealth Caribbean countries to share in best practices.”
Erica Wynter, President of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica, added: “YEA Jamaica is very excited about this great initiative. We look forward to many years of successfully connecting young people to business and advocating for them across the Caribbean region and Canada.”
Countries represented in the Alliance are: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and St Vincent & the Grenadines.
Representatives from the Commonwealth Asia Alliance of Young Entrepreneurs (CAAYE) and the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance assisted with the forum, providing support and inspiration to the young entrepreneurs from the Caribbean and Canada.
List of signatory organisations:
- GET SET Entrepreneurial Programme (Anguilla)
- GARD Centre (Antigua & Barbuda)
- Barbados Youth Business Trust
- The Barbados Vagrants & Homeless Society
- Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, Barbados Ministry of Culture, Sports & Youth
- Dominica Youth Business Trust
- Grenada Young Entrepreneurs Project
- Dynamic Youth of Grenada
- Grenada Junior Achievement
- Guyana Youth Business Trust
- Jamaica Youth Business Trust
- Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica
- Saint Lucia Youth Business Trust
- St Kitts & Nevis National Entrepreneurial Development Division
- St Vincent & the Grenadines Youth Business Trust
- Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago
- Organisation of Young Professionals (The Bahamas)
- Futurpreneur Canada
- Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Livelihoods (Barbados)
- Youth for Epic Change (Barbados)