Dominica Youth Business Trust launches new EU-funded program (updated with Minister’s remarks)

Cardelle Ferguson (center) at head table

The Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYBT) is embarking on an initiative to transform at-risk youth to sustainable youth. Through this project initiative which the European Union is funding, the DYBT aims to harness the energy of youth towards more productive activities and support their contribution toward the development of their society by fostering a supportive network to empower them towards stronger economic development

“What we hope to do in this project is to foster entrepreneurial activity among vulnerable and at-risk young persons in marginalized communities,” General Manager of the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT) and Regional Project Coordinator, Cardelle Fergusson said.

She was addressing attendees at the project launch and stakeholder engagement held at the Prevost Cinemall this week.

According to her, the goal of this project launch is to, “to ensure that we are ready to transform the overall sustainability of these young people and their communities.”

“We want to make sure that our activities are able to harness the energies that our young persons are having so that they can contribute towards productive, active, and supportive contributions to our economic development in the region,” she stated.

She said this project is being undertaken in three countries in the region, namely St Lucia, Barbados, and Dominica.

“Why those three countries? These countries are the three countries that all member-states are of the European Union,” she stated.

Furthermore, she indicated that this project was seen to spur activities in vulnerable communities.

“How do we define the most vulnerable communities? It’s those communities that we see high unemployment among our young people,” Fergusson stated. “Those communities where we have defiant behaviours, those communities where traditional support is not reaching the grassroots persons.”

She believes that the activities of these projects help these communities to reach a higher potential and greater impact.

“The second thing we are trying to do is to build the capacity of our youth business programs in these three countries so that they will better be able to meet the needs of these young people,” Fergusson explained.

She added, “The third thing we are trying to do is to create a repository of information.”

She mentioned that one of the deficiencies that is most disconcerting about the Caribbean region is concerning “the availability of information to support what we are doing.”

“So, what we want to do out of this project is through the activities and information that we gather we create that space where that information is available, not only to the youth business programs, but [so] the young people that we support are the partners that we develop,” Fergusson noted.

The next area of focus she said is to ensure that persons who are interested in working with the DYBT and being part of this project are able to have access to resources that will help to advance entrepreneurs towards sustainability.

The age targeted for this project is between 16 and 35.

“We are targeting those persons who are transitioning from traditional education into workplace situations,” she revealed.

Meanwhile, Minister for Culture, Youth, Sports and Community Development, Gretta Roberts said the project is expected to target 100 youth in Dominica.

“This youth empowerment project will focus on empowering 100 youth over a 4-year period with a target goal of 60 percent male and 40 percent female trained and empowered,” Roberts revealed.

She said this project requires several facets of society to work together to achieve the required impact.

“With stakeholder groups from the Youth Business International (YBI) network, government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector companies to include financial institutions, experienced entrepreneurs and educational and skilled training institutions, this project will ensure a well-rounded approach to youth empowerment and sustainability,” Roberts stated.

She encourages all stakeholders to actively participate in this project in any way possible.

“Whether it’s through information and resource training, providing training or extended financial support, your involvement is paramount to its success,” she encouraged. “Together it can create a nurturing environment that enables our youth to thrive and contribute meaningfully to our society.”

Roberts implores the youth of Dominica to grasp this opportunity with determination and enthusiasm.

“Embrace the resources and support offered through this project for they are tailor-made to empower you on your journey towards personal and professional fulfillment,” she indicated.

She commended the coordinator and staff of DYBT who have over the years come through for youth in Dominica and are doing an excellent job at working to advance their cause.


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