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Saint Lucia Celebrates First-Ever Youth Investment Forum

A facilitator tutors young entrepreneurs at YEA’s Invest Forum…
A facilitator tutors young entrepreneurs at YEA’s Invest Forum…

Deemed as a resounding success – the inaugural Investment Forum hosted by the Youth Economy Agency (YEA) at the Finance Administration Centre, last December, was designed to introduce more than 100 young entrepreneurs to the concept of investment.

The exercise was supported by the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

According to a YEA representative, this first-of-its-kind engagement provided several emerging companies with the opportunity to exhibit their goods and services. Simultaneously, scores of aspiring businessmen and businesswomen were able to learn from and be inspired by presentations from subject-matter experts, business coaches, and fellow young entrepreneurs from Saint Lucia and the wider Caribbean.

Dr. Tamu Petra Browne of St. Kitts and Nevis spoke on Game Changers: Businesses of the Future – The Next Big Thing.

Raphael Saul of Barbados delivered the Feature Presentation – Investing in Youth Entrepreneurship (Millennials & Gen Z as Trailblazers). Other presenters included Dr. James Fletcher; Dr. Donatian Gustave; Clemvio Hodge; and Dona Regis-Prosper.

Khrystal Riviere, YEA’s Chief Operations Officer said, the Forum positions burgeoning enterprises to survive and thrive: “Today we gather, not merely as spectators, but as active participants in a crucial dialogue about the evolution of businesses from their humble beginnings in the micro stage to the towering heights of large enterprises.”

She added, β€œThis Forum is a testament to the vision of …Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre, who with foresight and dedication has championed the cause of youth development. It is through his unwavering commitment, and the steadfast support of the Government of Saint Lucia, that we stand here today.”

The YEA official continued,” This gathering would not have been possible without their vision and dedication to fostering an environment where youth entrepreneurs can thrive. In a world where resources are finite, the Prime Minister and our Government have not only spoken about the youth economy but have also allocated valuable resources to nurture it”.

β€œThe Youth Investment Forum reflects the Government’s passion and belief in the potential of our youth,” asserted Riviere. β€œIt signifies a strategic move to expose microenterprises to diverse funding opportunities, guiding them through the various cycles of growth from micro and small to medium and large.”

Minister for Commerce, Manufacturing, Business Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs, Emma Hippolyte said, the Government of Saint Lucia expresses pride in the work of the Agency and the nation’s young leaders.

“As a Cabinet, we are proud of what you have achieved. We are proud of the energy that the Youth Economy Agency is bringing to the work that it has to do,” Hipployte noted. β€œBut it is when we work together that we will move this economy. I want to thank partners, the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan)… for the support they have given to our economy in general, and you, the beneficiaries of the Youth Economy for taking that bold step.”

Commenting at the event, His Excellency Peter Chen, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), declared his Government’s unwavering commitment and support for these kinds of initiatives.

β€œThis forum is not just a stage for listening, but a platform for collaboratively constructing the blueprint for the youth entrepreneurs. The Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) remains committed to partnering with the Government of Saint Lucia to assist and invest in more young individuals in seizing entrepreneurial opportunities, thereby transforming not only individual lives, but also shaping the future of our nations,” he stated.

Prior to the Investment Forum, the Agency hosted two key activities. Twelve YEA clients engaged in a two-day Investment Training programme – Understanding Investment, with the collaboration of Bank of Saint Lucia.

The participants learnt how to define investment, types of investment, how to secure investment and financing, sector-specific investment options, and more. Several young entrepreneurs also took part in a Perfect Your Pitch session, where they were taught how to better present themselves and their businesses.

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