With the rate of unemployment on the rise, the Barbados Youth Business Trust (BYBT) says there is a noticeable gender divide in terms of the increased number of aspiring entrepreneurs turning to the youth development organization for help in starting up their own businesses.
General Manager Cardell Fergusson reported that over the past two years there has been a 30 per cent increase in requests and that the 20-year-old BYBT had assisted on average about 145 entrepreneurs per year between the ages of 18 and 30 years.
“What we have seen is that with the decrease in employment and with people looking to create their own legacy and start their own businesses, we are seeing a lot more persons coming to us for support,” Fergusson said.
However, she pointed out that more women were taking advantage of the opportunities than men.
“The ratio is fairly average, which is about 60 per cent female, 40 per cent male, but that does not truly reflect how many males or females are getting into business.
“What we recognize is that males are more reluctant to come for assistance. They will try something and when it does not succeed or when they are getting a lot of difficulties and can’t help themselves, that is when they come to us,” she explained following this morning’s presentation of a $30,000 cheque to BYBT by Tropical Shipping, a subsidiary of the Seattle-based parent company Saltchuk.
Fergusson said the funds would be used to provide start-up loans to aspiring entrepreneurs, while noting that the success rate for businesses that benefited from the BYBT assistance over past three years was about 75 per cent.
“So what we have been able to do, and one of the biggest factors in that success is the business mentors. The business mentors are persons who are able to advise the young entrepreneurs on all of the pitfalls of starting businesses, and they are able to avoid those and stay in business for longer,” said Fergusson.
Island Manager for Tropical Shipping Andre Gibson said his company was pleased to be partnering with BYBT, which provides training, financing, workshops, mentors and other technical support to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.
“We were pleased to understand the work that the Youth Business Trust does and it is a really good fit to our mandate so it was a very easy selection and we look forward to an ongoing partnership.
“We will have an advisory role to do now that we are partnering with the Youth Business Trust. So we look forward to the positive outcomes that lie ahead and to continue supporting the Trust and the good work that they have done already. It was that good work that gave us the confidence to have the partnership and lend them the support that we could,” he said, while revealing that the company had also made a monetary donation to the St Lucia Business Trust.