More funding needed to develop youth businesses – The Caribbean Voice


Despite miniature strides to develop youth businesses, The Caribbean Voice believes that the Government needs to do more to help young people develop their businesses as the lack of employment opportunities are making youths suicidal.
This is according to a spokesperson of the organisation, Bibi Ahamad, who recently told Guyana Times that the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has taken note of the Department of Youth’s initiative to fund some youth businesses but is of the strong view that it needs to do more.
“They need to do more in communities especially in rural communities you know they need to put something to enhance the community for the youths to probably [benefit like] a playground for sporting activities [or a] resource centre,” Ahamad explained.
The Youth Innovation Programme Of Guyana (YIPOG) was launched in May 2017 under the Education Ministry. Later in September of that year, the Ministry awarded grants to 25 groups that proposed innovative project ideas to be implemented within their communities
It sought to provide the opportunity for Guyanese to design, develop and produce innovative ideas to combat challenges they face within their communities.
In 2018, the project was launched under the Social Cohesion Ministry with responsibility for Culture, Youth and Sport.
At a recent press conference, the Director of Youth, Melissa Carmichael said that the programme has been awarded $70 million this year to be distributed to youths. “The reason this was brought on board is because we recognise that there aren’t the necessary frameworks with regards to the financing [of businesses and] easy access to the banks and so on,” she pointed out.
Last year, several projects were funded by the Department through its Business Summit, each of which received $1 million to kick-start their businesses.
On the other hand, through YIPOG, about 30 persons also received grants through the Department for their Youth Innovation projects.
Those persons received a maximum of $2 million to launch their projects. It was explained that the financing for projects vary on the technicality of same.
For this year, the Department has received over 60 proposals but are catering for about 50.
Unemployment
Only last week, hundreds of young people who are unemployed crowded the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, Homestretch Avenue, Georgetown, where the Department of Youth held its first job fair to address the scourge of unemployment, which affects some 40 per cent of youths.
Senior Research, Planning and Development Officer within the Department, Adeti De Jesus told Guyana Times that the unemployed youths turned up to the Sports Hall before 07:00h to be interviewed.
In fact, youths who had become desperate for employment after being at home for a number of years took the opportunity to apply online for the job fair prior to the April 12 event.
Some 701 online applications were received, De Jesus said, while other youths showed up to the event without being registered.
The issue of unemployment among Guyanese youths has been on the rise and has been the cause of the hike in robberies and other crimes.
Presidential Candidate for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Irfaan Ali on April 11 told the media that the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government has failed to deliver most of its manifesto promises to the Guyanese people in the more than four years the Administration has been in office.
According to Ali, Guyanese have to hold Government accountable for this failure, which has resulted in the hardships many citizens face, especially among the vulnerable groups such as women, the elderly and youths.
He reminded of Government’s promise to stimulate job creation, especially for youths, but instead, they have caused the country to face 37,000 job losses in various economy-driven sectors. He went on to reveal that under the APNU/AFC, Guyana has slipped four positions in the employment rate for the 25-54 age group and seven positions for the age group of 54 to 64 on the Global Human Capital Index.
Among the host of promises the PPP has mentioned that will be in its manifesto, is the creation of 50,000 new jobs and according to the Party’s Presidential Candidate, even this figure is too conservative.

About caribvoice

Free lance journalist, educator and community activist. Guyana born New York based.
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