New public education programme on entrepreneurship rolls out with specialised workshop

UPstart Caribbean just launched a workshop at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex targeting those interested in starting a business, seeking further insights and opportunities to network, or in learning more about entrepreneurship. The campaign focused on a Public Education Programme (PEP) and using a variety of communications vehicles to disseminate messages that challenge false perceptions about entrepreneurship, revive the entrepreneurial mindset, encourage greater economic enfranchisement, and ultimately encourage more Barbadians to become entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs.

The fascinated audience enjoy one of many lively moments during the various presentations

The fascinated audience enjoy one of many lively moments during the various presentations

Presenters at the workshop include: Ayanna Young-Marshall, Coordinator at the University of the West Indies Student Entrepreneurial Empowerment Development (UWI SEED) Project; and entrepreneurs Sasha Mapp, Comprehensive Learning Academy; Melinda Belle, Astrape Finance; Chamara Hollingsworth, Vision 2 Reality; Kristina Adams, Adams Aqualife; and Corey Worrell, C2J Foundation Inc. Ryan Hunte, Business Banking Manager, Scotiabank examined Cash Management while Selma Green, Manager, Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) provided opening remarks.

UPstart Caribbean is endorsed by YES and sponsored by Scotiabank and United Insurance Company Limited.

Heather Barker, founder of UPstart Caribbean, created the programme as a way of contributing her skills in strategic public relations to the education and development of the wider community. “As a professional communicator I wanted to use my training and experience to begin to address some of the mindsets which daily influence our attitudes and behaviours such as despondency and the belief that we inherently deserve to be given everything we want, oftentimes without being part of the mechanism by which that happens.”

 Corey Worrell of the C2J Foundation Inc. addresses participants

Corey Worrell of the C2J Foundation Inc. addresses participants

She added that entrepreneurship by its nature challenges these and other negative beliefs by actively seeking solutions to problems, as well as recognizing opportunities and creating goods or services to take advantage of them.

UPstart Caribbean is designed to educate and ultimate empower people to take greater responsibility for their lives and create their own roadmaps to success. I thought that if more people better understood entrepreneurship and the skills needed to be successful, then that would be useful. And as a communicator, I thought why not create a Public Education Programme which combines the use of mass media and face-to-face interventions to help bring this about.”

In addition to the workshop series, UPstart Caribbean also comprises a website, and social media pages. A year-long series of success stories featuring entrepreneurs from across Barbados and the region sharing useful insights and resources is being published in ZiNG, Liat’s inflight magazine with the first article published in April. A radio campaign is also being developed. “I think UPstart Caribbean is unique in that it seeks to use a confluence of communications vehicles to disseminate messages on entrepreneurship over a period of time,” Ms. Barker noted.

Remarks from Selma Green, Manager - YES

Remarks from Selma Green, Manager – YES

The entrepreneur said the launch of UPstart Caribbean also coincides with the 10th anniversary of Clearly Content Communications Inc., the public relations and website development consultancy she founded. “I started the business in 2004 but didn’t work in it fulltime until 2008 which is now synonymous with the beginning of the recession. I think, though, my story can illustrate that with calculated risk, creativity and prudent management of resources, among other traits, you can pursue entrepreneurship and chart your own roadmap to success. And it’s important to communicate through this campaign that there’s a sense of freedom, flexibility as well as fun which entrepreneurship can bring,” Ms. Barker said.

UPstart Caribbean is being rolled out on a phased basis with the launch of Phase 2, which will add a stronger focus on vulnerable groups, planned for 2015.

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