July 27, 2012
Youth Business SVG plans to help young, aspiring business proprietors

Young, aspiring business owners will soon have more assistance available to get their businesses off the ground.{{more}}

Youth Business St Vincent and the Grenadines (YBSVG), which will come on stream soon, intends to provide such assistance.

Founder and managing director of YBSVG Kenrick Quashie said the organisation is part of the Caribbean group of youth business programs, which is linked to Youth Business International.

According to Quashie, persons who do not have collateral or who cannot access a loan from a bank would qualify for a loan of up to EC$25,000.

“We only lend to those who do not have and who would not likely get money from the bank. A person can get a maximum loan for up to $25,000, but ideally, they won’t get that upfront. We try to cut off the excess, so we would say around $15,000 …,” Quashie explained.

Details are currently being worked out as to a grace period after which the loan has to be repaid. However, Quashie said that interest rates could be between eight and 12 per cent.

He encourages young people in all fields to apply.

“We encourage designers, farmers, artists or whatever business persons want to get into. Once it’s earning an income, it’s business …. Our objective is to make sure that young people get into business and are successful.”

Quashie said the organization promotes youth entrepreneurship, business development training, business mentorship, which he noted is done using international standards.

“We offer start up capital to help young people get into business. Basically, we help them before they get into business, when they get the loan and are in business and while they are in business …,” Quashie stated.

Explaining how it works, Quashie said the young entrepreneurs would be paired with established business folk, who would assist them along the way.

“As soon as we get a young entrepreneur, we give them a company mentor. This is really a guided relationship. They will meet at certain times, go through the books and be on call for the young entrepreneur when he or she has a problem.”

Quashie said USAID recently gave $4.4 million to fund entrepreneurship in the Caribbean. Of that, he said, $2.2 million was given to the youth business programs in the Caribbean, through the Caribbean Group of Youth Business Program Centre of Excellence. Through this organisation, St Vincent and the Grenadines will benefit, although the amount which will be allocated to this country has not yet been indicated.

With their offices temporarily located at the Ottley Hall Marina, Quashie said he and his team will be on the road often to share information, rather than have persons coming to the office all the time. Plans are already afoot to launch public exhibitions and school visits around the country.

Quashie made it clear that the company is there to address the level of poverty, unemployment and underemployment in SVG, particularly among young people who are disadvantaged.

“We want to create a culture of entrepreneurship for people. We just want to reduce unemployment, create employment, empower young people and develop SVG on a whole,” he said.(KW)