Creating opportunities for Caribbean Youth

Washington DC, June 26, 2015 - The Young American Business Trust (YABT) was invited to present the work they do with Caribbean youth at the “HRA Business Investment Expo & Conference” that took place the 24th through 26th of June at the World Bank. YABT was asked to participate because of their extensive experience in development of successful programs which aim to empower Caribbean youth.

YABT participated in a panel denominated “Taking your ideas to a different level:  Accelerators and business incubators” where Valerie Lorena, Executive Director of YABT, shared with the audience the acceleration programs for businesses that YABT is developing. She stated that more than 3,000 young people participate in the activities that YABT promotes.

One of the programs where the Executive Director of YABT focused her attention was the “Caribbean Innovation Competition (CIC)”, which is an international competition and business accelerator program for young entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. CIC differs from other models of business competitions by incorporating entrepreneurial support phases before and after the competition, focusing on a training process and guidance in preparation for the competition and also providing post-competition monitoring which includes access to networking, financial plans, best practices and promotion opportunities".

As part of an integral strategy of support for young entrepreneurs from the Caribbean, another activity that is worth mentioning are the mentoring activitiesthat YABT is implementing in the “Startup Weekend” program, which in its latest edition at Trinidad and Tobago young people presented more than 100 business ideas.

Tamara Prosper is an example of YABT’s monitoring and mentoring activities. She is a young entrepreneur from Grenada who won the CIC and TIC Americas, another talent and innovation competition of YABT that has grown exponentially. At this moment this Caribbean girl is in South Korea receiving training for young entrepreneurs thanks to a scholarship given by the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Kookmin University.

“The lack of business ecosystems is a significant barrier to the growth of entrepreneurs. Incubators and accelerators can be used to surpass these barriers. In this session the challenges and solutions to support the growth and resilience of entrepreneurs will be discussed", such was the premise of the discussion panel where YABT had the opportunity to show the tangible work that has been developed over the years in the Caribbean.

Accompanying Valerie Lorena in the panel were: Jackie Hyland from Venture Lab, Alex Fife from Village Capital, Jesse Grainger from Agora Partnership and Sophia Muradyan from the World Bank.

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The HRA Business Investment Expo & Conference is an event aimed to promote business development and investment in the Caribbean. It aims to compile profiles of senior government officials, private sector, NGOs, investors, bankers, financiers and entrepreneurs to discuss investment opportunities, partnerships, share experiences, knowledge, passion and commitment to promoting sustainable development.