On April 17th, 2019, the Saint Lucia Development Bank relaunched the Youth Enterprises Equity Fund (YEEF). The YEEF is a venture capital fund established to foster entrepreneurship and provide equity financing to young Saint Lucian entrepreneurs between the ages 18 – 35 years. The program encompasses numerous benefits to investees such as tax-free concessions, technical assistance and up to $50,000 in financing.
As part of the re-launch, the Bank conceptualized a Schools’ Entrepreneurial Development Project which is aimed at sensitizing and kindling students interests in becoming entrepreneurs upon graduating from school. The project is being implemented in four schools namely, Vieux-Fort Comprehensive Secondary School, Soufriere Comprehensive Secondary School, Castries Comprehensive Secondary School and Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School.
Under the projects, the schools named will identify a product which the students will construct for sale. The Bank provided seed financing of $1,500.00 to each participating school as a donation. It is expected that from the proceeds of sale of the initial items, a revolving fund would be created which would enable the project to be sustained.
Cheque donations to the schools were presented at the relaunch of the YEEF ceremony.
The Managing Director of SLDB, stated with regards to the project, “as I stand before you, this lectern I am using, I had to borrow it, this lectern means that there’s an opportunity that I need one and maybe the students in the woodwork department might just be capable of creating it”.
The Deputy Chief Education Officer, Mr. Ragunanan addressing the gathering, expressed the Department of Education’s enthusiasm for the project, indicating that it will allow students to showcase their talents, but moreover, develop entrepreneurial skills where the right attitudes can be cultivated.
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