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Prospects good for Clarendon Youth in Business programme

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MAY PEN, Clarendon — The Clarendon Municipal Corporation’s Clarendon Youth in Business (CIYB) programme, which has helped dozens of young people to start their own businesses, is likely to get even stronger this year, organisers say.

The municipal corporation has set aside $3 million to fund what is being described as its “flagship youth entrepreneurship programme”, and according to Rowhan Blake, chief executive officer of the corporation, the prospects are good.

“We are already pleased with the kinds of businesses applying to be a part of the programme, which include apiculture and the bottling of the honey, cash crop farming, technology repairs and services, cosmetology, and food preparation,” Blake told a recent launch ceremony, according to a news release circulated here.

The programme, which started in 2016, was renewed last year with 25 young entrepreneurs being trained and given a grant of $150,000 towards capacity building — $100,000 from the Clarendon Municipal Corporation and a further $50,000 from the Ministry of Local Government.

The news release said that of the 25 people who were trained last year, 22 are still engaged in business.

Those partnering with the Clarendon Municipal Corporation for this year’s Clarendon Youth in Business III include the HEART Trust/ NTA, through its Vocational Training Division, which will see the young entrepreneurs being trained in entrepreneurship with a Level II certification; the Planning Institute of Jamaica, through its Community Renewal Programme, which will be providing grant funding of $700,000; and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation, which will train entrepreneurs in product development.

Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz, in endorsing the programme, encouraged the young people to create their own jobs.

“With an initiative such as the CYIB, I encourage young graduates to change their mindsets and begin to think outside the box to create job opportunities for themselves instead of looking for work with someone else. The time has come for us to create our own jobs; we are talented enough and we are creative enough,” he said.

Vaz said he had noted the achievements of the CYIB in helping young people to have legitimate and sustainable livelihoods for themselves.

Last year, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said the Clarendon Youth in Business programme exemplified the advantages of “political continuity”. He pointed out at the time that the programme was conceptualised and first launched when the municipal corporation was led by the People’s National Party under then mayor of May Pen, Scean Barnswell. It has continued under the Jamaica Labour Party-dominated council led by current mayor Winston Maragh.

The CYIB project has been consistently hailed as one worthy of emulation across Jamaica.

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