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CrazyFruits » WORLD NEWS AND SPORTS FROM SKY » First Caribbean supports young entrepreneurs

First Caribbean supports young entrepreneurs

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FirstCaribbean International is making a concerted effort,
to help young entrepreneurs get a start in the world of business by,
providing loan support through the Jamaica Business Trust.

Farmer Andrew Johnson Producers.
Kaodie Ambursely of Cellular Paradise
Kaodie Ambursely; Managing Director of First Caribbean
International (Jamaica) Clovis Metcalfe; Andrew Johnson;
Chairman of Jamaica Business Trust David Clarke at

Jamaica Business Trust’s 2010 Business Update meeting

held at First Caribbean’s New Kingston headquarters on Knutsford
Boulevard on Tuesday. (Garfield Robinson)
Farmer Andrew Johnson of AGL Producers. 1/3

For years many entrepreneurs have bemoaned the fact that
Jamaican financial institutions blithely ignore them or require
conditionalities that are impossible to meet, such as putting up
a home or other real estate or excessive sums as collateral, which
young persons are unable to do at this stage of their lives. Indeed
it is often said that if Bill Gates had been born and raised in Jamaica
there would be no Microsoft. Of late there is a cry for greater
productivity and more exports, and if the country is serious about
this endeavour it will have to invest in its human capital and look
increasingly to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Most banks have
yet to recognise this - First Caribbean has.

Speaking at a "2010 Business Update" of the Jamaica Business
Trust at FirstCaribbean on Tuesday, Managing Director said that
$4 million has already been disbursed to eight Jamaican businesses
spanning several industries including information technlogy,
agriculture, food technology and hospitality.

"Since 2008, has disbursed US$345,000 to young entrepreneurs
in Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica, St Vincent, St Lucia, Belize,
Trinidad& Tobago and Antigua. The funding was provided through
the Caribbean Association of Business Programmes, a network
of business which provides loan funding and mentorship to
people ages 18-30, and has his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales
as its patron.

FirstCaribbean is committed to the fostering of an entrepreneurial
spirit among young people in the region.

At the meeting Andrew Johnson, a pepper farmer based in Spanish Town
who received funding through the initiative, said: " I was at the bottom
of the table and was given an opportunity because the Jamaica
Business Trust saw potential in me and backed me. The Jamaica Business
Trust is the greatest thing in all of Jamaica. You see me here today
without jacket and tie, yet I was given a chance to grow my business."

Young Andrew has a $1 million contract with a jamaican supermarket
to provide
them with peppers.There is also an option to renew the contract,
provided all goes well. Andrew is harvesting from 1,400 pepper trees.

The Jamaica Business Trust complements the activities of the
bank's dedicated small business unit formed to assist in the development
of small and medium enterprises in Jamaica which can make a significant
impact both in terms of the country's gross domestic product and direct employment.

The maximum loan facility provided by them is J$500,000 and it is hoping
that more Caribbean finance houses will come on board and so allow it to
increase its lending facility.

Chairman told Caribbean Business Report : "This is a great
way for young entrepreneurs to get started. In Barbados we have funded
500 businesses in 14 years and seen a very low default rate. It is not
just about providing loans, we also offer a mentorship programme and seek
to assist in guiding people's ventures to success. To succeed in business
one has to employ certain habits and it is vitally important that young entrepreneurs know and follow those habits.

"Once young business owners regularly honour their loan commitments
and manage their businesses well we can then recommend them to a larger
lending institution , confident that they have what it takes to make the enterprise succeed. It is very important to build up a track record and
have someone vouch for you."

Another beneficiary who attended the meeting was Kaodie Ambursely of
Cellular Paradise which is based at 112 Old Hope Road, Kingston. This
young man has a talent for customising mobile telephones, and his company
offers a raft of mobile telephone services including repairs, the unlocking
of mobile phones and "flashing" (dealing with software problems).

"Our congratulations to the, Chairman and his team for the stewardship
of the programme thus far and to the eight Jamaican entrepreneurs
who have already benefited from loans, and are well on their way to making
a positive contribution to their families, their communities and the wider Jamaica", said the FirstCaribbean boss.

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