Applications are now open for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 in Clarendon to apply for $100,000 in seed capital and product development and business improvement training.
The grants are being provided by the Clarendon Parish Council and its partners the Caribbean Local Economic Development Project (CARILED), Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Jamaica National Small Business Loans and HEART TRUST/NTA under the Clarendon Youth in Business Project.
Mr. Damion Young, the Clarendon Parish Council’s Local Economic Development Officer (LEDO) explained that the project arose out of the need to address the challenges a number of youth in business face in accessing grant funding and business loans.
“We (the Clarendon Parish Council) believe that this is an ideal way to improve the business environment for Clarendon’s youth and as we seek to engage a cohort of them we will be informing ourselves of the challenges being faced by youth in business and we can use this data to tailor suitable responses to youth issues especially on the economic front.”
Ms. Stephanie Hutchinson, National CARILED Coordinator, a major partner on the project explained that her organisation’s support was based on the vulnerability of young entrepreneurs in business and the successful track record of the Clarendon Parish Council in implementing CARILED-funded local economic development projects.
Speaking at the July 16 launch in May Pen Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Mr. Denzil Thorpe lauded the Clarendon Parish Council for taking the lead yet again on to innovate useful solutions to local challenges.
He says he was particularly impressed with the Clarendon Youth in Business Project as it is consistent with the Ministry’s primary objective.
‘This is what we do at the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’, he explained ‘We grow community-based initiatives that can empower people.’
Mr. Thorpe impressed on the audience of mostly young people that the grant amount of J$100, 000 is nothing to sneeze at.
He explained that seed capital for small businesses encourages innovative business ideas and these were the types of businesses he expects to benefit under the project.
The Mayor of May Pen, Councillor Scean Barnswell expressed happiness at the realization of the Project. He said he hopes the Clarendon Youth in Business project will drive local economic development as the Parish Council is committed to LED.
Applications will be accepted from youth operating small businesses in the agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, technological services or cosmetology sectors.
Applications can be submitted to the Secretary/Manager, Clarendon Parish Council, Sevens Road May Pen by Friday, July 29 at 3 p.m.