In fulfilling its mandate to support young people in business, the YEA hosts a week of activities in the month of November.
The inaugural YEA week of activities took place November 2009. Some 40 entrepreneurs collaborated to develop the network of professionals and increase public awareness on the importance of entrepreneurship to national development. Critical to the success of that week was the staging of business development seminars, which were used as the platform to help new businesses to grow and develop.
The benefits accrued from the inaugural expo afforded YEA to support and nurture business development among its members as well as facilitate the development of valuable partnerships and alliances. YEA is now building on the successes of the inaugural expo, while at the same time widening the scope of activities to attract the valuable entrepreneurial spirit amongst the youth, recognizing this as the incubators of new and innovative business ideas, while at the same time solidifying the role of YEA in the business society in Jamaica.
Through the week of activities, YEA aims, over the medium term to provide a forum for networking among members and the local and international business community, and to promote best ethical business practices among local businesses.
The long term objective is to affect public policy in order to improve the Jamaican business environment. This, it is hoped, will transform the Jamaican mindset through the promotion of innovation and creativity and facilitate the success of entrepreneurial ideas through the provision of relevant training and public awareness.
The week of activities is extremely relevant. The role of entrepreneurship and an entrepreneurial culture in economic and social development has often been underestimated. Over the years, however, it has become increasingly apparent that entrepreneurship does indeed contribute to economic development.
Transforming ideas into economic opportunities is the crux of entrepreneurship. History shows that economic progress has been significantly advanced by pragmatic people who are entrepreneurial and innovative, able to exploit opportunities and willing to take risks.
At the 2005 Mauritius Conference, which reviewed the status of implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action, States committed, with the necessary support of the international community, to promoting an enabling environment for investment and enterprise development, to foster a dynamic well functioning business sector. The Mauritius Strategy therefore recognized the need for small island states to promote and facilitate entrepreneurship necessary in the pursuit of sustainable livelihoods.
Jamaica’s Vision 2030 National Development plan also identifies the Insufficient Promotion of Entrepreneurship as one of the issues and challenges facing the country. As such, one of the priority sector strategies identified and agreed is the promotion and development of entrepreneurship.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has noted that private sector development and entrepreneurship development are essential ingredients for achieving the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty. While sound macroeconomic policies and providing market access are crucial, emerging markets need to nurture and develop entrepreneurs able to take advantage of opportunities created by globalization.
A comprehensive approach to the promotion of entrepreneurship rests on two primary pillars: strengthening of entrepreneurial skills and improvement of entrepreneurial framework conditions through sufficient public awareness and appropriate networking. These pillars are interlinked because entrepreneurs do not act in a vacuum, but whether and how they use their skills and motivations to transform business ideas into profit opportunities.
For many developing countries, private sector development has been a powerful engine of economic growth and wealth creation, and crucial for improving the quality, number and variety of employment opportunities for the poor.
- Economically, entrepreneurship invigorates markets. The formation of new business leads to job creation and has a multiplying effect on the economy.
- Socially, entrepreneurship empowers citizens, generates innovation and changes mindsets. These changes have the potential to integrate developing countries into the global economy.
Outside of the need for entrepreneurship development in a country to spur economic development, it has been long understood that social partnerships are important to Jamaica’s overall development. These partnerships will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in working towards many of the goals identified in the Vision 2030 National Development Plan. Given the current economic climate, social partnerships will serve to bring together parties from across various sectors of the country to identify solutions for the problems that face our country. The partnerships being created with the staging of this event will therefore go a long way in achieving national objectives.
IDPs have traditionally worked with business to support growth and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, as well as provided support for schemes aimed at promoting responsible business standards. This is akin to the work that the YEA is attempting to do with the hosting of the week of activities and the development of networks amongst such professionals.