In a dynamic and economically challenging era as the one we are experiencing in Jamaica, I commend and endorse the initiative of the Mutual Building Societies Foundation (MBSF), Digicel Foundation and the Business Lab, for the conception and implementation of the Young Entrepreneurs “I am the Change Programme”. This programme departs from the traditional approach to entrepreneurial education, actively engaging the faculties of our youth who are inspired by the theme “I am the Change”. This epitomizes the innovation and forward thinking necessary to thrust our nation towards economic growth. Very significantly, it diffuses hope in the future of our nation when our youth see themselves as effective channels for national transformation.
There are multiple synergies between the “I am the change” programme and the “I Believe Initiative”, besides the shared focus on youth. The I Believe Initiative emphasises the need for youth to equip themselves for excellence, making the best use of every opportunity for expanding their knowledge base and taking responsibility for their success through a focused, intelligent approach to study and work. It promotes the restoration of self-confidence and self-respect among our youth, as well as their conviction that they can make a positive difference in Jamaica, Land we love. Thus, “I am the Change” is a strong message which the IBI wholeheartedly endorses.
Peter Drucker, the man who was known as the “Father of Modern Management”, once said that “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship: the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” He knew the urgent need to adapt to a new way of thinking. In times such as these it is of paramount importance to move the “what the heart conceives” to a state where the “mind attains.” For those who aspire to become entrepreneurs, the success of your business ventures depends greatly on sound judgement, financial literacy, and strong business sense.
I strongly endorse programmes such as these that seek to perpetuate a culture of innovation. The seed of entrepreneurship planted today has great potential to yield business giants of tomorrow. The ultimate end product of the promotion of entrepreneurship will not just be an increased Gross Domestic Product, or even a larger group of wealthy families, but holistic nationwide development. Let me challenge you budding entrepreneurs that on the way up you also lend a hand to those in need. Often, it is your advice and mentorship which other young business people need and this is an invaluable means for helping them up the ladder. As Mr. Drucker said when asked about his legacy to humanity, “What I would say is I helped a few good people be effective in doing the right things.” We have to lose the “crab in a barrel” mentality and learn to help others succeed wherever we can.
The “Young Entrepreneurs ‘I am the Change” programme already is yielding success stories. The program was launched in six schools and I must congratulate-McGrath High School ,Porus High School, Mile Gully High School, Godfrey Stewart High School and Green Pond High School on their selection. I have to specially mention Richaydo Farquharson whose honey business not only yielded personal income, but gained coveted recognition. The entrepreneur is only fourteen years old! Ladies and gentlemen, young people, this is the success, this is the positive change in which I believe. This is the change I wish you will create, the change you can be and must be- as the progress of the nation is truly in your hands, determined by what you do.
I challenge other corporate entities to emulate the Mutual Building Societies Foundation (MBSF), Digicel Foundation and the Business Lab model for indeed an investment in the young people of our nation is not only a worthy cause, but a pre-requisite for national development.
I summon more participation among our business leaders; our youth-lets join hands in support of such a worthy venture. I applaud the program for the seeds of hope planted today- a true investment in our nation.