First Look

'Pitch It!' offers over $6 million in business grants

Junior Achievement Jamaica | 2016-08-12 19:00:00

Kingston, Jamaica- August 11, 2016- On Friday, August 12, over forty youngsters will become one step closer to owning their own business.   The youth, who are former remandees or wards of the state, will pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges at the 'Pitch It!': Learning and Investing in Your Future event at the Mona Visitor's Lodge in St. Andrew for a chance to receive one of eighteen grants valued at up to $350,000 each.

These youth, who were formerly at the South Camp and Metcalfe Street Juvenile Centres, have been taking part in this special programme, 'Pitch It!', that is focused on providing them with support to help with their social re-integration into society and their economic prosperity.  This is part of a larger programme, termed A New Path': Promoting a Healthy Environment and Productive Alternatives for Juvenile Remandees and Offenders in Jamaica, implemented by the Organization of American States and the Trust for the Americas, with the financial support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project seeks to improve the lives of youth in conflict with the law, addressing their emotional, social, educational, and economic challenges. It works with key areas that can enable the successful economic and social integration of youth.

The Organization of American States (OAS) and The Trust for the Americas, who are leading the initiative, have engaged Junior Achievement (JA) Jamaica to assist in the initiative that will provide entrepreneurial opportunities for these at-risk youth.

"We believe the Pitch It! is a truly innovative way to ensure that youth in the Americas, particularly those who are at-risk, have a chance to become prosperous, through economic inclusion," expressed Jeanelle van GlaanenWeygel, Country Representative of the OAS.

Under 'Pitch It!', youth receive mentorship and training that will increase their abilities to start and run their own companies. The major part of the training is being provided by JA Jamaica through their 'JA Be Entrepreneurial' curriculum. This curriculum is designed to engage youth, through a hands-on approach, in learning about business planning and the essentials needed to start and run a successful business venture.

"We are excited to be a part of this programme. We believe that all the youth will be able to have a better appreciation for running a formal business after learning about writing business plans, financial forecasting, marketing, and sales in our JA Be Entrepreneurial curriculum," explained Alphie Mullings-Aiken, President of JA Jamaica.

Since Sunday (August 8th) the young men and women, all over the age of sixteen, have been engaged in the JA Be Entrepreneurial curriulum. Tomorrow, the judges will select the top 18 business pitches to receive the business grants. OAS and TRUST will continue working with the youth who received grants through an even more in-depth programme where the youth will actually be running their own businesses. This will be facilitated through the Junior Achievement Company of Entrepreneurrs (JACE) programme that will take place over a period of three months commencing in September.

About the Organization of American States
The OAS has 34 member states and it is the world's oldest regional organization. The Organization uses a four-pronged approach to effectively implement its essential purposes, based on its main pillars: democracy, human rights, security, and development. As part of our work in the area of security, OAS Member States have mandated the General Secretariat of the OAS to strengthen and establish policies and programs for the modernization of the penitentiary systems in the Americas, as well as to design sustainable social reintegration models, especially for young people. The OAS therefore provides technical assistance and institutional capacity strengthening to Member States for the continuous improvement of policies to reintegrate detainees.

About The Trust for the Americas
The Trust for the Americas is a non-profit organization affiliated to the OAS. It promotes public and private sector participation in social and economic development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. It seeks to improve access to economic opportunities for vulnerable communities in the hemisphere.

About Junior Achievement (JA) Jamaica
JA Jamaica is a registered non-profit organization focused on preparing youth ages 5-24 to be globally competitive in business and own their economic success. The programmes are based on three pillars; entrepreneurship, financial literacy and work readiness. Since 2009, JAJ has reached over 60,000 youth through partnerships with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and several private and public organizations.

Posted By :Paul McFarlane

Company Name : Junior Achievement Jamaica

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