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Call to help at-risk youth in the Caribbean


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Small Business Minister, Dwight Sutherland (left) in conversation with Coordinator, Centre for Professional Development and Lifelong Learning, Dr. Dion Greenidge (centre) and Senior Director, Caribbean Regional Programme, Benoît-Pierre Laramée, (BGIS Photo)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Feb 6, CMC – A senior Barbados government minister says entrepreneurship in the region must be bolstered through a renewed willingness to fully explore the potentialities of all available resources, inclusive of labour, technology, capital and intellectual capacity.

Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce, Dwight Sutherland, said also that at-risk youth, especially males, should be given the necessary assistance to become entrepreneurs.

“In similar vein, room must be found to engage the ideas and innovations of our disadvantaged youth, including our males who are not wired to conform to the status quo, and who, if left unchecked, will use their creative energies for less than desired productive national outcomes,’ Sutherland said at the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus and PitchIt Caribbean.

“And, we continue to see that males are challenged in this country, and if you look around at what is happening today, it is not the female; it’s the males; hence my deliberate mention of the male,” he added.

Sutherland also urged the university and other stakeholders to mentor those young men in developing soft skills to allow them not only to eke out a daily living, but to develop legitimate business enterprises.

“I am in no way suggesting that these persons be brought on to campus in breach of admission policy, or into an unfamiliar environment where intimidation would render them incapable of survival.

“ I am not asking you to do that; rather as academics raised by the village yourself, like myself, it is my view that you have a national responsibility to give back to your own, and to develop these communities through relevant life-long interventions,” he added.

PitchIT Caribbean, under the remit of the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project (CMIP), is a two-tiered partnership approach to support growth-oriented mobile app businesses in the Caribbean.

The programme is designed to strengthen the Caribbean mobile innovation ecosystem and enable sustainable and competitive mobile enterprises to grow through activities that will target early stage innovators and guide them to market readiness.

The aim is for the creation of a regional pool of high-growth potential mobile start-ups with the capacity to release their apps to the market and raise additional capital to grow.

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