A flagship youth entrepreneurship programme of the Small Business Association is to be recognised as a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Entrepreneurship, a senior SBA official has revealed.
As the SBA’s Enterprise in Action (EIA) initiative welcomed its tenth intake of secondary students eager to develop their business acumen, longtime programme manager Andrea Taylor revealed the programme scored the achievement.
She told reporters at the Savannah Beach Hotel that the programme received overwhelming endorsements from educators and academics and eventual approval by the Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) Council and would be accepted both locally and regionally.
Taylor said: “Throughout our EIA programme for the last ten years, we always wanted to have a certification process and because of the effort and the success of the initiative over its lifetime, a number of principals sent letters endorsing it.”
She explained the qualification would be made available to all Barbadians as a level one NVQ, providing fundamental business principles.
Taylor explained: “It teaches you the entrepreneurship mindset and brings a practical element of starting a business including, the inputs, the financial elements, the team building elements, the marketing elements, and the research and development elements.
“It also takes that entire mindset into consideration and then you execute the business through financial and legislative constraints and the legal constraints.
“So it teaches you the entire process of starting a business, but in the same breath, it teaches you the mindset of what you should have and in the event that you don’t want to start a business, it teaches you the entrepreneurship mindset even if you go into somebody else’s business.”
The programme manager said the annual EIA programme. which requires young people from schools across the island to develop their own business ideas, has been growing.
According to Taylor, last year’s initiative had over 270 participants in 23 schools, which represented a major improvement over previous years.
Said the SBA manager: “Not everyone will be an entrepreneur but what we want to inculcate is the entrepreneurial spirit, the behaviour and the mindset which says you can operate wherever you go and provide a creative element in any business.
“If we have that mindset we can take Barbados forward in so many dimensions.
While the theme of Small Business Week theme is Small Minds, Big Thinking, Wednesday’s theme for the youth forum Using Technology to Engage the World was seen as being more relevant to young entrepreneurs.
According to Taylor, technology would help drive young people away from the less appealing “brick and mortar” entrepreneurship and encourage them to take advantage of the same technological devices they use daily.
The SBA official said: “Every single child has some kind of technological gadget and they understand that the Internet is their world.
“What they need to understand is where they need to go and filter information and harvest ideas that would work and be innovative and that will work for them.”