The Youth Entrepreneurship Program for the Eastern Caribbean (YEPEC) was a three-year project, operational in the Eastern Caribbean to provide support for Youth Business International’s youth entrepreneurship program. The project supported young people to set up their own small businesses by providing business development services and mentoring in combination with (non-federal) lending. Regional activities were facilitated mainly by Youth Business Trusts (YBTs) through community building activities that formed a key component of the award.
The purpose of the YEPEC is to:
Youth Business International1 is the implementation partner providing overall grant management of YEPEC program, alongside technical support to YBTs in enterprise skills development methodologies. YBI implemented YEPEC, in partnership with five Caribbean YBTs:
Project Results Matrix
|Optimize the number of young people supported to become entrepreneurs.|
|Launch 150 new businesses with loans||150||95||42||53
|Total number of new businesses supported with grants||NEW||45||14||31||N/A|
|Total number of existing businesses supported with loans/grants||NEW||57||31||26||N/A|
|Total businesses started or supported during YEPEC||150||197||85||110||131%|
|Create 2-3 jobs on average per business||300||257||N/A||N/A||86%|
|Provide business start up support for 3,000 young people||3,000||2,910||750||1,220||97%|
|Build awareness of opportunity through youth entrepreneurship.|
|Raise awareness among 20,000 young people||20,000||35,215||N/A||N/A||176%|
|Outreach in 200 educational institutions||200||146||N/A||N/A||73%|
Build the capacity of YBPs to support Young Entrepreneurs.
Improve the quality of support available to Young Entrepreneurs.
|Increase capacity & strengthen 3 existing YBTs||3||3||N/A||N/A||100%|
|Train 40 board members||40||29||N/A||N/A||73%|
|Train 30 managers & Trust team||30||27||N/A||N/A||90%|
|Total board members/YBT staff||70||76||N/A||N/A||109%|
|Train 200 business mentors||200||244||N/A||N/A||122%|
|Expand the number of YBTs in the region|
|Develop & pilot new members in St.Lucia, Antigua & St. Vincent & the Grenadines||3||3||N/A||N/A||100%|
|Establish youth entrepreneurship initiatives in 2 new locations – St. Kitts & Nevis and Grenada||2||0||N/A||N/A||0%|
YEPEC implementation by YBI and the YBTs provided several opportunities to develop our partnerships and work in supporting youth entrepreneurship in the Eastern Caribbean.
Two YBTs implementing YEPEC, BYBT and YBTT, have partnered with YBI member, Jamaica Youth Business Trust, to access funding for a joint program from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which will provide an important avenue for continued joint working post-YEPEC. The YBTs also plan to continue working together, with the support of YBI, on a joint funding strategy to ensure they leverage their experience of working together to approach a wider range of potential regional partners and donor agencies.
The opportunity for all YBTs and YBI to work collaboratively on delivering a significant event, the Caribbean Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (C-YES) was important in enabling YBTs to represent themselves as a regional network to external stakeholders, which they plan to do increasingly in the future. Working together on delivering this event also provided the opportunity for YBI and YBTs to explore different ways of working collaboratively, which they will continue to explore post-YEPEC in order to further strengthen their partnerships, in order to ultimately better serve young entrepreneurs.
Learning through the experience of implementing YEPEC, YBI decided to put in a place a system of supporting the Caribbean YBI members as a region. YBI has a ‘relationship manager’ model, whereby each individual member has one point of contact who provides support to each member as needed, as well as signposts them to other staff in YBI’s Network Team, or from other members, who may be able to assist them as needed. For the Caribbean region, YBI is now piloting a regional ‘relationship manager’ model, whereby the Caribbean members are provided with support both ‘as a region’ as well as individually, in order to better meet their joint needs.