BYBT’s Executive Director sees Self Employment as way forward during Economic Crisis – Fashion Show at the UK High Commissioner of Barbados’ residence

The current global economic crisis has opened paths for young people to come forward and seek to create their own niche markets for establishing their own companies.

This summation came from Executive Director of the Barbados Youth Business Trust, Marcia Brandon, who was adressing a large gathering the other night at Ben Mar, the residence of Duncan Taylor – the UK’s High Commissioner to Barbados.

Ms Brandon was praising the High Commission for being a long-standing partner with BYBT and believes it’s that alliance which made it last 13 years instead of 2 as many thought when it originally began.

In the Director’s view, establishing your own business is critical especially in the current financial downturn that has affected every part of the planet. Now is in fact the best time to start your company or seek mentors, she told the audience.

There were many potential business mentors for young Barbadians to source advice from;- Cally Boyea of Esso, Grace Chambers of DaCosta Mannings, Sir Allan Fields as well as Victor Roach: ex-Port Authority and now B’dos Horticultural Society among others.

Some of the companies that night included Irie Kid, 9-One Designs and Jenanya’s Fashions. As well as an impromptu fashion show featuring three local designers.

Irie Kid was founded by Junior Howell and he’s made a full-time business of it in the last decade but has had it knocking around for 15 years. His company takes unusal Caribbean-themed art and places it on key-rings, postcards and T-shirts.

Between the UK High Commission and the BYBT, he’s been able to access Marketing savvy, mentorship and a loan with a 10% interest scheme and it only took two weeks to apply for before approval was granted!

Self-taught Junior like many visual artists and musicians in Barbados, is rather angry at how the arts and cultural side of this country is largely ignored.

9-One designs is a husband/wife jewellery operation started in 2003, they have received financial support from the BYBT and shown how to expand their client base.

Their clients include Sandy Lane from the West, as well as Turtle Beach, Sandy Beach, Crane, the Savannah and Almond Casuarina on the South.

The couple are currently in the process of getting a website created to further promote their business. Their inventory consists of fresh-water pearls, semi-precious stones which are set in copper, gold and silver.

The trio of designers showing their collections that night were Shanika Burnett, Kisha Thompson and Toni Thorne the Fashionista!

Toni’s swimwear section had an unuusal yet not unexpected accessory, a guitar. Yet the way it was lsung over the shoulder of the girls, I couldn’t help but recall an old cartoon…

Do you remember El Kabong? It was really Quick Draw McGraw and while dressed in his other crime-fighting persona, Baba Looey was his partner in defeating banditos and other villains of the Wild West of Hanna-Barbera. He got his name from using a guitar as a weapon to bonk bad guys over the head and the noise became his name, LOL!

After the fashions were displayed, there were presentations of various gifts of appreciation from some of the folk who benefitted from both the High Commission and the BYBT.

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