VYBZING Jamaica Off to a Great Start
Youth challenged to develop entrepreneurship opportunities with a community focus 60 enthusiastic young Jamaicans representing all 14 parishes of the country gathered early Wednesday morning (April 13) at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston for the first day of the Caribbean Development Bank' (CDB) 2016 VYBZING Youth Forum - a three-day workshop on ICT Entrepreneurship. The diverse group of participants include freelance graphic artists and animators, teachers in service and in training, technicians, and office administrators. The diverse group of aspiring entrepreneurs ranging in age from 17 to 29 years old, included many who are not currently employed or in school as well as freelance graphic artists and animators, teachers in service and in training, technicians, and office administrators. Yvette Lemonias Seale, Vice-President (Corporate Services) and Bank Secretary, CDB reaffirmed the mission of the CDB to reduce poverty by promoting new industries that bring significant growth opportunities to the region. At the Official Opening, Yvette Lemonias Seale, Vice-President (Corporate Services) and Bank Secretary for CDB reaffirmed the mission of the CDB to reduce poverty by promoting new industries that bring significant growth opportunities to the Region. She reiterated that a key rationale for the VYBZING Youth Forum is to achieve sustainable development by a focus on promoting youth development. “This is a commendable gesture by the Caribbean Development Bank in several ways. In Jamaica unemployment among youth is more than twice the national rate which hovers around 14 per cent. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information is very pleased to be associated with the staging of this forum which seeks to empower provide a group of Jamaican youth to change the economic trajectory of their lives, using Information Communication Technology (ICT) to create opportunities," said Brittany Singh, Youth Advisor in Jamaica' Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and guest speaker at the Official Opening. The three-day VYBZING Forum is being facilitated by a team from the Caribbean Science Foundation led by Professor Cardinale Warde, Interim Executive Director. The introduction of Professor, Cardinale Warde, Interim Executive Director of the Caribbean Science Foundation, facilitators for the VYBZING workshop, was the first indication to the participants as to the impressive credentials of the professionals who would guide them through the workshop content. Professor Warde gave the eager group insights into what they should expect for the next three days. “At VYBZING we are creating the environment for ICT entrepreneurship and collaboration to generate the next great ICT idea from Jamaica," he said. Professor Warde reiterated that VYBZING would educate and equip the young Jamaicans to use ICT to create opportunities to transform their lives, their communities, Jamaica and the world. After the formal opening, and following a short break the group were eager to get to the real business that brought them to the VYBZING Forum. The first presentation was delivered by Chris Harper who shared “Strategies for Breaking the Subsistence Barrier." Ayanna Samuels followed with an introduction to social entrepreneurship titled, “Planet, Profit, People: Promoting the Triple Bottom Line." The morning session concluded with the participants declaring their area of interest for the working groups that would create teams to develop a business idea. Participants picked project preferences from categories such as engineering, farming, retail. Educational services, health and wellness, arts & crafts, animation, web/internet services, arts and media, food services, event planning services, graphics and communications VYBZING is fun and the work continued through the afternoon with the participants being introduced to the Business Model Canvas and the nuts and bolts of website creation. Chris Harper presented “Introduction to the Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup Concept" sharing the nine building blocks of the canvas used to define the business idea such as target market, distribution etc. The participants then worked with David Thorpe and Jeremy Stephen to learn about using WordPress to create the website for a business. These two sessions were the precursor to the overnight homework assignment. With teams assigned, the participants were charged with working together to develop a community focused business idea. They are to use the define the business parameters using the Business Model Canvas, develop the website for their proposed business and prepare a pitch presentation for their new business idea. With this task, the participants are learning another lesson about the life of a successful tech entrepreneur - the hours of work and commitment needed to drive a successful business. Their labour will not go unrewarded as prizes are on offer for the best pitches delivered on the morning of Day 2. Yes, it was a long day packed full of information. However at the end of the day, the consensus is that Day 1 was great, they learned a lot and everyone looks forward to the remaining sessions. A testimony to the participants' commitment to the work, even after the formal sessions ended for the day, the teams remained at their tables wasting no time getting on with their assigned tasks. To view more photos and for live updates visit the VYBZING Facebook page.